A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Tag: students

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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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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Lunch Debt Debacle – Part 1

By on August 30, 2019 in Students with 0 Comments

By: Lauren E. Tedesco, Esq.Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Amassing lunch debt within school districts is not a unique circumstance.  In fact, in our practice representing school districts it is a relatively common occurrence.  Recently, a South Jersey school district came under scrutiny for proposing what has been dubbed the “Tuna Sandwich Policy” where a student whose lunch account is more than $10 in arrears would be provided a tuna sandwich for lunch as an alternate lunch in lieu of the lunch regularly provided and available.  Those who oppose the proposed policy argue that students who receive a tuna sandwich […]

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New Jersey Supreme Court Rules on Student Records Issue – Part 2

By: Zachary M. Wildsmith, Esq.Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In last week’s article, we discussed the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in L.R. v. Camden City Public School District, focusing on the Court’s decision to extend the protections for student records under the New Jersey Pupil Records Act (“NJPRA”) to include redacted records. In its decision in L.R., the Court also affirmed the Appellate Division’s holding that a requestor could gain access to student records if they fell within one of the categories of “authorized” individuals and entities identified in N.J.A.C. 6A:32-7.5(e)(1) through (16). Specifically, the Appellate Division suggested, that […]

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New Jersey Supreme Court Rules on Student Records Issue – Part 1

By: Zachary M. Wildsmith, Esq.Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Under New Jersey law, student records are protected from public disclosure. “Student record” pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:32-2.1 means information related to an individual student gathered within or outside the school district and maintained within the school district, regardless of the physical form in which it is maintained. Essential in this definition is the idea that any information that is maintained for the purpose of second-party review is considered a student record. Access to student records by second-parties are governed by several state and federal laws including the federal Family Educational Rights […]

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Special Education Settlement Subject to 6-Year Statute of Limitations

When boards of education resolve disputes with parents of special education students, they often enter into settlement agreements with the parents which are approved by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) of the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”). On February 27, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division in L.A. v. South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education issued a decision affirming that parties to a settlement agreement approved by the OAL are subject to a six-year statute of limitations to enforce that agreement. In 2000, the parent of a special education student initiated litigation against the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education (“Board”) seeking reimbursement […]

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District Court Denies Parents’ Request for IEE

Parents of special education students have the right to request an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) at the expense of the school district if they disagree with any assessment conducted as part of an initial evaluation or a reevaluation conducted by the school district. However, that right is not unfettered. On January 31, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in S.S. and M.S., o/b/o H.S. v. Hillsborough Township Public School District overturned an Administrative Law Judge’s decision and determined (1) parents are only entitled to an IEE at the district’s expense when they disagree with an evaluation or reevaluation […]

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NJDOE Issues Guidance Regarding Transgender Students

By on October 1, 2018 in Students with 0 Comments

You may recall that in May 2016, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice issued a Dear Colleague Letter addressing the rights of transgender students and then rescinded it less than a year later in February 2017. The New Jersey Department of Education (“NJDOE”) took matters into its own hands and issued a guidance document to school districts regarding transgender students on September 27, 2018. The purpose of the guidance document is to assist in creating an inclusive environment for transgender and gender nonconforming students and to ensure that these students receive equal educational opportunities. The NJDOE advises that a school district […]

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

By on April 3, 2018 in Other with 0 Comments

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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