A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Cameron R. Morgan

Cameron R. Morgan

Mr. Morgan has served the public school districts of the State of New Jersey in the specialized area of school law, representing boards of education in all aspects of their legal needs, with a focus on general counsel services, civil litigation, special education, administrative law, collective negotiations, labor and employment, and appellate practice. He has served as Board Solicitor to dozens of school districts, guiding district administrators through the diverse range of issues affecting the public schools, from personnel matters, tenure cases, and the range of issues that frequently arise at public board meetings, to student disciplinary matters, residency disputes, and homelessness issues, to complex matters involving the budgetary process or First Amendment rights.

Second Circuit Holds FBAs Are Not “Evaluations” for Purposes of Special Ed Parents’ Independent Evaluation Requests

By on October 13, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In a precedential opinion sure to make waves in the special education community, on September 17, 2020, in D.S. v. Trumbull Board of Education, 120 L.R.P. 133 (2d Cir. 2020), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that functional behavioral assessments (“FBAs”) of special education students conducted by a public school district are not “evaluations” capable of triggering a parent’s right to request an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) from the district by an outside evaluator, at public expense.  The case puts front and center an issue of first impression that has rarely been addressed in the district courts of the […]

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NJDOE Finally Releases Notice Stating Permissibility of Delivering Related Services to Special Education Students through Remote Technology

By on April 2, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. With most schools in New Jersey closed for nearly two weeks, and all closed since Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 107 on March 21, 2020, school districts across the State have been awaiting further guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education (“NJDOE”) on the important issue of whether NJDOE would permit the provision of related services to special education students through remote technology and distance learning during this period of school closure due to the COVID-19 virus.  That much-awaited guidance came yesterday, as Commissioner of Education Dr. Lamont Repollet issued a letter titled “Notice […]

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New Statute Requires Schools to Provide Meal Distribution or Meal Vouchers during COVID-19 Closures to Students Eligible for Free & Reduced Price Lunches

By on March 25, 2020 in Legislation with 1 Comment

Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On Friday, March 20, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a new bill, A-3840, to ensure the continuation of meal distribution to some of New Jersey’s most at-risk students as the State provides support to help local communities work through the COVID-19 pandemic.  The statute, now P.L. 2020, c. 6, requires local school districts to provide for meal distribution or a meal voucher program during the period of school closure due to the COVID-19 epidemic for those students who are eligible to receive free and reduced price lunches.  The act takes effect immediately. Under […]

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N.J. 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., 241 N.J. 31 (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 school day.  Melnyk […]

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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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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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Elimination of Salary Caps for Superintendents of Schools Signed Into Law Effective Immediately

By on July 31, 2019 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq.Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On July 19, 2019, Governor Murphy signed new legislation, L. 2019, c. 169 (S-692 / A-3775), which eliminated the cap on maximum base salaries for superintendents of schools which had been in effect since February 2011.  At time of the new law’s passage, subject to several potential modifications allowable under law, the salary cap levels had been set by administrative regulations of the Commissioner of Education at $147,794 for schools districts with enrollments of 749 students or less, $169,689 for districts with enrollments of 750 to 2,999, or $191,584 for districts […]

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OSEP Clarifies: Parental Consent Not Required to Conduct Post-Secondary Transition Assessments if Child Study Team not Reevaluating

By on April 22, 2019 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. and Nicole Crincoli, Law Clerk The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) requires informed parental consent to be provided prior to a child study team performing any number of different actions in the course of the special education process.  Whether a school district needs to obtain written parental consent prior to administering postsecondary transition assessments had been a question of some debate.  In a recent guidance letter from the Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”), Letter to Olex, 119 L.R.P. 8445, 74 I.D.E.L.R. 22 (Feb. 22, 2019), OSEP indicated that individualized education program (“IEP”) teams generally […]

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Parents Not Entitled to IEE at Public Expense Due to Minor Flaws in Reevaluation

By on October 10, 2018 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In the realm of New Jersey special education, it is not a rare occurrence for parents to request an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) of a special education student at public expense in response to an evaluation of the student conducted by the child study team.  Each year, New Jersey school districts are faced with hundreds of requests for IEEs at public expense.  The vast majority of these are granted voluntarily by the district, sometimes on the basis of a cost-benefit assessment that has little to do with whether the evaluation was appropriately conducted or whether the IEE will shed any […]

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