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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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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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Court Denies Discovery of Access to Multiple School Buildings, Holding That the Request was Irrelevant and Disproportional to the Case

By on July 21, 2021 in Other with 0 Comments

By: Kristen M. Doyle, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In a decision dated June 1, 2021, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey held in Esposito v. Ridgewood Board of Education that Plaintiffs failed to show that the broad discovery they wished to obtain was relevant to the subject matter of the lawsuit. The Court denied Plaintiffs’ requests to access and photograph the interior of various school buildings because they were not related to Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims and were disproportional to the case. The claim stemmed from an incident on January 8, 2019, at an elementary school when the […]

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CDC Issues Interim Guidance for Opening of Schools Following COVID-19 Closures

By on May 21, 2020 in Other with 0 Comments

Earlier this week the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) released guidance for K-12 school administrators on the reopening of schools.  The guidance is titled “Interim Guidance for Resuming Schools and Day Camps.” The largest section of the guidance is the Social Distancing section which encouraging schools to promote social distancing to the fullest extent possible.  Steps 1 and 2 of the promotion of social distancing include suggestions, such as student and staff groupings remaining static (same students with same staff members), cancelling of field trips, inter-group events and extracurricular activities, limitations on gatherings, and restrictions on non-essential visitors […]

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School Powers in Confronting an Epidemic

By on March 13, 2020 in Other with 0 Comments

School districts and boards of health have significant powers to address the spread of contagious disease.  Now is the time to review these powers. The board of health may direct closure of schools. N.J.S.A. 18A:40-12.  Whenever the board of health of any municipality shall declare any epidemic or cause of ill health to be so injurious or hazardous as to make it necessary to close any or all of the public schools in the municipality, the board of health must immediately serve notice on the board of education of the school district situated in the municipality that it is desirable […]

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What You Need to Know About OCR Complaints & Investigations – Part 2

By on April 3, 2018 in Other with 1 Comment

By: Lauren E. Tedesco, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Last week we discussed the Office for Civil Rights’ (“OCR”) jurisdiction to enforce anti-discrimination laws in school districts, as well as the filing of complaints with the OCR and opening letters and data requests. Today, we will discuss best practices to responding to a data request, and discuss further investigation procedures, including interviews and letters of finding. Responding to a data request can be a time consuming process, as many times the OCR will ask for extensive information and documentation. Along with speaking to staff members involved, it is important […]

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What You Need to Know About OCR Complaints & Investigations – Part 1

By on March 27, 2018 in Other with 0 Comments

By: Lauren E. Tedesco, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. The Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) is the federal agency charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws in programs or activities that receive federal financial aid from the United States Department of Education (“USDOE”). The OCR investigates alleged discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin pursuant to Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; sex discrimination pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; discrimination on the basis of disability pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and age discrimination pursuant to […]

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Commissioner of Education Rejects Settlement Agreement to Terminate Send-Receive Agreement

By on March 20, 2018 in Other with 0 Comments

It should be easy to end a send-receive relationship between two boards of education when they both agree to sever ties – right? Not so fast, says the New Jersey Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) in a decision issued on February 9, 2018 in Mine Hill Board of Education v. Dover Board of Education. The Commissioner rejected a settlement agreement reached between two boards of education to terminate a send-receive relationship for failing to follow the rules regarding termination. The Mine Hill Board of Education (“Mine Hill”) wanted to modify its send-receive relationship with the Dover Board of Education (“Board”) and […]

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Appellate Division Rules Against Charter Schools In Funding Issue

By on September 19, 2017 in Other with 0 Comments

Four charter schools located in Jersey City challenged the level of funding they received from the local board of education under the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (“SFRA”) as inadequate for their students to receive a thorough and efficient education in violation of the New Jersey Constitution. In an unpublished decision issued on September 14, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division denied the charter schools’ challenge and upheld the current funding mechanism in Learning Community Charter School v. Jersey City Board of Education. Charter schools are public schools that operate under a charter granted by the Commissioner of Education […]

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