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ELC URGES STATE BOARD TO REWORK REGULATIONS ON STUDENT CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINE

Newark, New Jersey - April 6, 2005

In comments submitted to the New Jersey State Board of Education, ELC has asked the State Board to delay approval for publication of regulations governing student discipline and the conduct of students in schools until serious deficiencies in the proposal are corrected.

The proposed code, developed by the New Jersey Department of Education, provides procedures and standards governing student discipline and the right of disciplined students to alternative education, as well as addressing issues such as attendance, bullying and harassment. The Commissioner of Education will be seeking the State Board’s approval of the proposal at the State Board’s monthly meeting scheduled for April 6, 2005.

"These regulations are urgently needed, but critical flaws must be corrected to protect fundamental educational rights. While ELC appreciates the Department’s efforts, more work needs to be done," said Elizabeth Athos, Esq. of ELC. Athos and David R. Giles, Esq., of counsel to ELC, submitted written comments to the State Board today identifying key deficiencies in the proposal. These include:

  • Failure to include all preschool children within the regulations;
  • Placing improper limits on the right of expelled students to alternative education until age 20;
  • A lack of clear standards and procedures to protect the educational rights of students in disciplinary matters;
  • Extension of the time line to conduct disciplinary hearings, contrary to established precedent;
  • Exclusion of students with disabilities from due process protections accorded general education students; and
  • Violation of special protections guaranteed students with disabilities under federal special education law.

In addition, the regulations need to provide additional guidance on the implementation of the state law for the prevention of bullying and harassment in schools.

Education Law Center Press Contact:
Elizabeth Athos, Esq.
Senior Attorney
email: eathos@edlawcenter.org
voice: (973) 624-1815, ext. 20