A Capehart Scatchard Blog

U.S. DOE and DOJ Rescind Guidance Documents Regarding Transgender Students

By on March 15, 2017 in Students with 0 Comments

On February 22, 2017, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice (“Departments”) released a Dear Colleague Letter, which rescinds the May 2016 federal guidance documents regarding the rights of transgender students. The May 2016 guidance documents offered clarification that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) prohibits discrimination based on a student’s transgender status and/or gender identity. These previously issued guidance documents explained that school districts cannot require transgender students to use restrooms or locker rooms inconsistent with their gender identity or require them to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so. The recent February 2017 Dear Colleague […]

Share

Continue Reading »

N.J. Supreme Court Rules Arbitrator Exceeded Authority in Tenure Case

By on March 6, 2017 in Labor & Employment with 1 Comment

On February 21, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Bound Brook Board of Education v. Glenn Ciripompa invalided an arbitrator’s award in a tenure removal case after determining that the arbitrator exceeded his authority when he failed to determine whether a teacher’s actions rose to the level of conduct unbecoming. The arbitrator improperly applied the standard for hostile work environment instead of conduct unbecoming. Bound Brook Board of Education (“Board”) filed tenure charges against Glenn Ciripompa, a tenured high school math teacher, after an investigation revealed that he was using school district-issued laptops, iPads, and networks to transmit nude […]

Share

Continue Reading »

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Not Required in Non-FAPE Cases

In a long awaited case involving a student requesting the use of a service dog in school, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled on February 22, 2017 in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools that parents are not required to exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) when the heart of their complaint does not allege a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”). This case involved a student with cerebral palsy who qualified for special education and related services under the IDEA when she attended a public school in Michigan. As a result, she […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Appellate Division Further Defines “Promptly Available” Meeting Minutes under OPMA

By on February 21, 2017 in Open Public Meetings Act with 0 Comments

Last week, we reviewed the New Jersey Appellate Division’s ruling in Kean Federation of Teachers v. Board of Trustees of Kean University, which changes a public entity’s obligations regarding Rice notices sent to its employees. You can read last week’s post here. This week, we will examine the Appellate Division’s other decision in the Kean case regarding a public body’s duty under the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”), N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq., to make meeting minutes promptly available. While the OPMA itself does not establish a specific time period for the “promptly available” standard, the Appellate Division found that the […]

Share

Continue Reading »

To Rice or Not to Rice? A Lesson from the Appellate Division

By on February 15, 2017 in Open Public Meetings Act with 0 Comments

*Please note that the case discussed in this article has been reversed by the New Jersey Supreme Court on June 21, 2018 in Kean Fed’n of Teachers v. Morrell, ___ N.J. ___, A-84-16 (2018).* In a published decision released on February 8, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an important ruling regarding a public entity’s obligations regarding Rice notices provided to its employees. In Kean Federation of Teachers v. Board of Trustees of Kean University, the Appellate Division determined that a public body is required to provide a Rice notice to any employee whose name appears on the agenda regarding […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Appellate Division Rules in Favor of Public Entities in Two OPRA Cases Involving Redactions

By on January 24, 2017 in Open Public Records Act with 0 Comments

On January 13 and 19, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued two unpublished decisions in the favor of public entities regarding redactions made to documents disclosed pursuant to the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”). These cases clarify what information may be redacted from government records when released under OPRA. Public agencies, including school districts and charter schools, must comply with OPRA, which requires disclosure of a government record unless a specific exception applies. An individual who believes that a public agency improperly denied his or her OPRA request may challenge that determination by filing a complaint in Superior Court […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Upcoming Seminar: “Guide to Special Education Law for Attorneys & Educators”

On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. will be presenting at the Camden County Bar Association’s three-part seminar entitled “Guide to Special Education Law for Attorneys & Educators.” Ms. Dev will be speaking about individualized education plans (“IEPs”) and strategies for successful IEP meetings. The seminar will be held at the Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield, New Jersey. For additional information and registration, please click here.

Share

Continue Reading »

Commissioner of Education Finds Student Not Victim of HIB

By on January 9, 2017 in Students with 0 Comments

Most harassment, intimidation, and bullying (“HIB”) investigations arise from allegations by a student against another student. However, New Jersey school districts must also investigate HIB allegations by a student against a staff member. On December 21, 2016, in M.R. o/b/o M.R. v. Board of Education of the Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District, the New Jersey Commissioner of Education upheld an Administrative Law Judge’s determination that a cheerleading coach’s conduct did not constitute HIB and did not violate the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act because the conduct was not based on any actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic. Student M.R. […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Board of Education Required to Pay Back $3.8M to Teachers’ Pension Fund

By on December 27, 2016 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On December 22, 2016, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Middletown Township Board of Education v. Division of Pensions and Benefits affirmed the Board of Trustees of the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund’s determination that the Middletown Township Board of Education offered an unauthorized early retirement incentive to its employees. The decision requires the Board to pay back approximately $3.8 million to the teachers’ pension fund. In October 2007, the Middletown Township Board of Education (“Board”) approved a Sidebar Agreement with the Middletown Township Education Association (“Association”) modifying the collective bargaining agreement between the Board and the Association. The Sidebar […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Unilaterally Reducing Teachers’ Hours During Economic Crisis Prohibited

By on December 13, 2016 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On November 29, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court In the Matter of Robbinsville Township Board of Education v. Washington Township Education Association ruled that boards of education must negotiate employees’ work hours and cannot unilaterally reduce those hours even in times of economic crisis. The collective negotiation agreement between the Robbinsville Township Board of Education (“Board”) and the Washington Township Education Association (“Association”) stated that teachers’ salaries would be based on 188 days for new teachers and 185 days for all other teachers. In 2010, a series of events caused a significant reduction in the Board’s funding. As a […]

Share

Continue Reading »

Top