A Capehart Scatchard Blog

New Obligation to Meet With Students Facing Multiple Suspensions or Expulsion

By on February 6, 2020 in Students with 0 Comments

On January 21, 2020, Governor Murphy signed legislation requiring that a meeting take place with a student who has experienced multiple suspensions or who may be subject to a proposed expulsion for the purpose of identifying any behavior or health difficulties experienced by the student and, where appropriate, to provide supportive interventions or referrals to school or community resources that may assist the student in addressing the identified difficulties.  The principal is charged with setting up the meeting as soon as practicable between the student and a school psychologist, counselor, social worker, student assistance coordinator or a member of the […]

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NJ Supreme Court Reverses; Refuses to Allow “Tyranny of Labels” to Compromise Analysis in Tenure Case

By on February 5, 2020 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided a teacher tenure case which it warned served as a cautionary tale that “demonstrates the ability of labels to cloud an analysis.”  Melnyk v. Bd. of Educ. of Delsea Reg’l High Sch. Dist., A-77-18, ___ N.J. ____ (January 30, 2020).  The Delsea Regional School District (“District”) had employed the petitioner, Paula Melnyk, as a tenured special education teacher since 1991.  In 2002, the district began also employing Melnyk to work evenings as a teacher in its after-hours alternative program, in addition to her position as a special education teacher during the regular […]

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Court Affirms Dismissal of Parent’s Suit Challenging School’s Communication Plan Setting Reasonable Limits on Father’s Constant, Aggressive E-mails

By on January 28, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In the world of special education, parents come in all shapes and sizes in terms of their mode of interaction with the child study team and school personnel.  Some parents of special needs children are cordial, while others are friendly and appreciative.  Some are matter-of-fact, while others can be much more emotional or animated.  Special education parents come with varying degrees of how engaged they are or wish to be in the process of planning and communicating with the school district child study team.  For the thousands of child study team members around the country who serve as case managers, […]

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USDOE and USHHS Issue Joint Guidance on Application of FERPA and HIPAA to Student Health Records

By on January 14, 2020 in Students with 0 Comments

In December 2019, the U.S. Department of Education (“USDOE”) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“USDHHS”) jointly issued a 26-page document, providing updated guidance on the application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, 34 C.F.R. Part 99, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), see 45 C.F.R. Parts 160, 162, and 164 (the “HIPAA Rules”), and their application to student health records.  The updated guidance provides a basic overview of each of the two federal statutes, as well as 27 frequently asked questions (“FAQs”).  The new guidance […]

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N.J. District Court Issues Post-Janus Decision on WDEA

By on January 7, 2020 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On May 18, 2018, the New Jersey Governor signed into law the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act (“WDEA”), which allows union employees to withdraw from the union and cease paying dues upon notice to the employer during the 10 days following each anniversary date of their employment. On June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus, holding that public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from non-consenting employees. On December 27, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey issued a decision in Thulen v. AFSCME regarding union members’ argument that the […]

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Governor to Sign Bill to Ban Hair Discrimination

By on December 31, 2019 in Legislation with 0 Comments

New Jersey bill entitled Create a Respectful and Open Workspace for Natural Hair Act (“CROWN Act”) was passed by the Senate on December 16, 2019 and approved by the Assembly on December 19, 2019. The CROWN Act would prohibit discrimination on the basis of hairstyle, type, or texture, which are traits historically associated with race. This bill, which further addresses discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”), will head to the Governor for signature. The NJLAD, which applies to schools and work places, would be amended to specifically define “race” to include “traits historically associated with race, including, […]

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Third Circuit Clarifies Law on Independent Evaluation Requests & Need for Disagreement with District Eval

By on December 16, 2019 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

Occasionally, school district child study teams (“CSTs”) are faced with special education parents who are resistant to allowing the CST to evaluate their child, yet demand independent evaluations from an outside evaluator at the school district’s expense.  In such circumstances, districts were often faced with a dilemma – either acquiesce to such demands, or file for due process themselves and incur legal fees to resist such requests, or deny the parent’s request without filing for due process and risk an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) finding that the district committed a procedural violation.  This is because previous decisions of the Office […]

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Commissioner of Education Upholds Finding of HIB for Comments Related to Physical Strength

By on December 12, 2019 in Students with 0 Comments

In a case successfully defended by Sanu Dev, Esq., the Hainesport Township Board of Education’s (“Board”) determination of harassment, intimidation, and bullying (“HIB”) was upheld by the New Jersey Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) on June 19, 2019. In the case captioned M.S. and N.S. o/b/o J.S. v. Hainesport Township Board of Education, the parents of J.S. appealed the Board’s decision finding that J.S. violated the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (“ABBRA”) and committed an act of HIB when J.S. slammed another student’s Chromebook, pulled on his earbuds, called him “weakling,” and commented on the student’s athletic ability, using the phrase, […]

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Upcoming Seminar: School Law – Social Media and Apps, Cyberbullying, Privacy, and Other Technology

By on October 12, 2019 in Seminars, Students with 0 Comments

On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. will be presenting at the National Business Institute’s seminar entitled “Social Media and Apps, Cyberbullying, Privacy, and Other Technology.” Her presentation will focus on First Amendment issues and disciplining students in the age of social media. The seminar will be held in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

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Lunch Debt Debacle – Part II

By on September 6, 2019 in Students with 0 Comments

By: Lauren E. Tedesco, Esq.Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Strengthening policies and procedures for outstanding lunch debt is one of the most important steps a school district can take in order to minimize the overall outstanding debt.  In addition to the statutory notice provisions to parents/guardians discussed in Part I of this article series, school districts should also ensure that parents/guardians are aware of the National School Lunch Program, which provides a free or reduced price lunch to children from households meeting criteria for eligibility.  Free/Reduced Lunch applications can be provided to parents/guardians and submitted at any time during the […]

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