A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Third Circuit Holds Districts May Use RTI to Determine SLD Eligibility

By: Angela Reading, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and New Jersey law allow school districts to use two methods to determine specific learning disability (“SLD”) of a student who may qualify for special education: the severe-discrepancy approach and the response-to-intervention approach (“RTI”). The severe-discrepancy method examines whether there is a severe discrepancy between the student’s current achievement and intellectual ability in one or more areas of academic aptitude. N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5(c)(12)(i). The RTI method applies intensive and individualized instruction and evaluates the child’s progress in response to that intervention. 20 U.S.C. § […]

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School District Counsel Not Considered a Custodian Under OPRA

By: Angela Reading, Law Clerk.Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On June 21, 2022, the New Jersey Appellate Division in S.W. v. Elizabeth Board of Education confirmed in an unpublished opinion that a request made under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) to an attorney for a public entity is invalid. The Appellate Division held that OPRA explicitly requires a request for access to a government record to be “to the appropriate custodian,” and counsel for a board of education is not a custodian within the meaning of OPRA under N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5(g). This case arose from a special education due process […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules First Amendment Protects Public School Coach’s Post-Game Prayer

By on July 7, 2022 in Other with 0 Comments

By: Angela Reading, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On June 27, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District held that a public school football coach’s prayers on the football field, in public after football games, were protected under the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. The ruling highlights a conflict between First Amendment rights in public schools: the right to freely practice and express religion and the right of others to be free from the state endorsing religion. For years, Joseph Kennedy, an assistant football coach in Bremerton, Washington, walked […]

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Non-Renewal Recommendation in Summative Evaluation Does Not Comply With Written Notice Requirement

By on June 28, 2022 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Angela Reading, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In New Jersey, spring brings critical deadlines related to renewal decisions for teachers. N.J.S.A. 18A:27-10 mandates that by May 15 of each year, the chief school administrator provide non-tenured teachers with either a new employment contract or written notice of non-renewal of the employee’s contract. If a non-tenured teacher does not receive an employment contract or written notice by the May 15 deadline, under N.J.S.A. 18A:27-11, the employee is presumed to have received an offer of employment for the upcoming school year under the same terms and conditions of employment. […]

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Appellate Division Affirms Dismissal of NJLAD Claim for Sexual Assault on a School Bus

By on June 20, 2022 in Students with 0 Comments

By: Becky Batista, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On June 13, 2022, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued a published decision on an issue of first impression in C.V. v. Waterford Township Board of Education, where the Court addressed whether the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) applies to claims arising from a sexual predator’s abuse against a young schoolgirl where such conduct was committed on a school bus. Based on the undisputed facts of this case, the Appellate Division concluded that the LAD did not apply because there was no evidence that gender motivated the assault. This […]

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Appellate Division Affirms Denial of School District’s Application for Emergency Aid

By on June 14, 2022 in Other with 0 Comments

By: Erika Vasant, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On April 18, 2022 the New Jersey Appellate Division decided the case of In the Matter of the Request for 2019-2020 Emergency Aid Submitted by the Board of Education of the North Warren Regional School District, where the court addressed the New Jersey Department of Education’s (“DOE”) decision to deny a school board’s application for emergency aid for roof repairs. The Appellate Division affirmed the Commissioner of Education’s decision that the DOE did not act unreasonably in denying the request. The North Warren Regional School District (“District”) operated only one […]

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Appellate Division Rules School Boards Must Notify Tenured Teachers of Job Consequences Prior to Voluntary Transfer to Part-Time Positions

By: Becky Batista, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On June 6, 2022, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued a published decision in Parsells v. Board of Education of Somerville in which it decided that school boards have a duty to notify full-time teachers, in advance, of adverse job consequences before they are appointed to part-time teaching positions, even when the teacher voluntarily seeks the part-time position. In reaching this decision, the Appellate Division reviewed the holding of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association v. Board of Education of Bridgewater-Raritan School District. This case concerned […]

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Settlement Agreements of IDEA Cases in the OAL Are Disclosable Under OPRA

By: Angela Reading, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On May 18, 2022, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued a published decision in the case of C.E. v. Elizabeth Public School District, in which the Court held that settlement agreements resolving Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) disputes that have been docketed in the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) and final decisions incorporating or pertaining to those settlement agreements are subject to disclosure under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”).   Prior to this decision, boards of education typically deemed all special education settlement agreements as confidential student […]

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District Court Affirms Failure to Strictly Implement “Door-to-Door” Transportation Did Not Violate IDEA

By: Becky Batista, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On March 17, 2022, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey affirmed the ruling of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) in S.W. v. Elizabeth Board of Education that “transportation to and from the corner bus stop rather than from the disabled child’s home did not rise to the level of a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”), did not significantly impede the parents’ opportunity to participate relative to his education and did not cause a deprivation of educational benefits.” In S.W., the parents of a disabled student sought […]

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Court Approves Settlement Agreement Involving Incarcerated Disabled Students and NJDOC and NJDOE

By: Becky Batista, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On March 3, 2022, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey approved a settlement agreement between a class of incarcerated students with disabilities and the New Jersey Department of Corrections (“DOC”) and New Jersey Department of Education (“DOE”) in Adam X. v. New Jersey Department of Corrections. The plaintiffs filed a civil rights class action lawsuit on behalf of incarcerated disabled students in DOC adult prisons. These students were eligible for special education. They alleged that the DOC and DOE failed to provide special education or related services and equal […]

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