A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. concentrates her practice on the representation of boards of education and charter schools in all areas of school law including: labor and employment, special education, Section 504, student discipline, FERPA, Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, student residency, civil rights, tenure, OPRA, and OPMA. In connection with these representations, she is experienced in handling matters before State and Federal courts, including the Office of Administrative Law. Ms. Dev is an experienced special education litigator and defends school districts in due process hearings from inception through trial. In addition, she has handled matters before governmental agencies, including the U.S. Office for Civil Rights and New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. Ms. Dev routinely conducts training and seminars, drafts policies and manuals, and provides strategic advice to school administrators regarding school law issues. Ms. Dev was recently recognized as one of South Jersey’s Awesome Attorneys as published by South Jersey Magazine. She is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the District Court for the District of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Appellate Division Affirms Electronic Voting by BOE

On October 30, 2020, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Schwartz v. Princeton Board of Education issued an unpublished decision affirming that a board of education may utilize an electronic voting system so long as all of the other requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”) are met. In other words, electronic voting by board of education members is not a per se violation of OPMA. Plaintiffs, members of the public, filed a lawsuit against the Princeton Board of Education (“Board”) alleging that its vote on a specific agenda item at its June 12, 2018 public meeting violated OPMA. […]

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Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies May Not Apply to Section 504 Claims

By on September 29, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

On September 23, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in McIntyre v. Eugene School District that the exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required when the claims do not allege a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). The case involved a student with attention deficit disorder who alleged that her school district violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it did not provide her with disability-related testing accommodations and failed to follow an emergency health protocol. In the complaint, […]

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NJDOE Issues Guidance on ESY 2020 During COVID-19 Pandemic

On June 12, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Education (“NJDOE”) provided guidance to school districts on the delivery of extended school year (“ESY”) services to eligible students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NJDOE’s guidance was in response to the Governor’s recent Executive Order 149 allowing for in-person ESY programming beginning on or after July 6, 2020. Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and corresponding New Jersey regulations, once a school district determines that a student with disability requires additional educational services during the summer, the school district is required to include an ESY program […]

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N.J. Supreme Court Decides Issue on Compensation for Unused Sick Time

On April 20, 2020, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an important decision regarding a teacher’s right to compensation for unused sick leave at the time of retirement or separation from a board of education. In Barila v. Board of Education of Cliffside Park, the State’s Supreme Court held that the unambiguous terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the teachers’ union and the board of education dictated the right to sick leave compensation upon retirement and such agreement did not violate a vested right. The Cliffside Park Education Association (“Association”) is the exclusive collective bargaining representative for all teachers […]

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GRC Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Impacts on OPRA

As previously addressed on this blog, on March 20, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Assembly Bill No. 3849 into law which relaxes the deadline by which public agencies are required to respond to requests for government records under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) during a period of a declared emergency, such as the current COVID-19 health crisis. On March 26, 2020 the Government Records Council (“GRC”) issued a special statement regarding the modification. Under normal circumstances, the custodian of records of a public agency must respond to an OPRA request within seven (7) business days by either granting access to […]

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Additional Guidance on Conducting Remote Board Meetings

About two weeks ago, we addressed the issue of how boards of education could conduct their school board meetings electronically and still comply with the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”) when there is a severe restriction on public gatherings due to the coronavirus health crisis. Fortunately, the Division of Local Government Services (“DLGS”) recently provided additional guidance on this issue. DLGS emphasized that telephonic or virtual public meetings without a physical meeting place should be utilized for the foreseeable future in light of the Governor’s Executive Order 107. Virtual meeting options include streaming and/or online meeting platforms, such as Google […]

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N.J. District Court Affirms Dismissal of Parent’s Special Education Case as Time-Barred

By on February 25, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In a case decided on February 11, 2020 by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Camden Vicinage, the Eastampton School District (“District”) successfully dismissed a parent’s lawsuit brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) on the basis that it was filed beyond the two-year statute of limitations. In McLean v. Eastampton School District, the parent of a special education student initiated a due process petition in August 2018 against the District alleging that an individualized education program (“IEP”) developed by the District in June 2016 failed to provide the student with a free […]

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

By on January 7, 2020 in Labor & Employment with 1 Comment

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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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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