How should schools legally respond when students violate their Code of Conduct? What are the procedures? What are the consequences? School districts face these issues every day. As practitioners representing school districts, we strive to ensure that our clients act to protect the interests of not only the school community, but the offender as well. As counsel for the offender, we endeavor to compel school districts to abide by the law without ignoring the individual student.
The difficulties associated with legally imposing school discipline pose a challenge for every school, whether small or large, and whether rural, suburban or urban. No longer are schools limited to discipline for actions occurring on school grounds or at school activities. Discipline can be implemented for actions in the community, whether in person or through electronic communication. Discipline concerns are not exclusive to the secondary level, as we have seen increased need for disciplinary response to the actions of younger students. Can schools impose the same type of discipline upon younger students as that imposed upon their older siblings? Can disabled students be disciplined? What type of discipline is appropriate: detention; Saturday detention; in-school suspension; out-of-school suspension; or expulsion? How, and when, should schools turn to restorative practices rather than strict discipline?
Speaker Joanne L. Butler, Esq., who has represented schools and school districts for over thirty years, will address these and other School Discipline issues.
Joanne L. Butler represents numerous boards of education as general or special counsel. In addition to providing daily counsel to her school district clients, Ms. Butler conducts in-service training at all levels and represents her clients in investigations and litigation before the Department of Education, the Office of Administrative Law, the Public Employment Relations Commission, the Division on Civil Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and various state and federal courts. A co-chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group, Ms. Butler also offers employment counseling to private employers.
Ms. Butler frequently shares her knowledge and experience in the areas of school law and labor and employment law through lectures and in-service training on various education and employment issues. Topics have included harassment/intimidation/bullying; student discipline; expulsion and alternative education; residency issues; student records; student surveys; Individualized Education Program (IEP) preparation; special education; avoiding/surviving due process; Section 504; New Jersey Family Leave and Federal Family and Medical Leave; sexual harassment; search and seizure; technology on and off school grounds; and school safety concerns.
Prior to joining Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP in 1996, Ms. Butler was a partner with the West Orange firm of Young, Dimiero & Sayovitz. Early in her law career, she served her judicial clerkship with the Honorable Clarkson S. Fisher, former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
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