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BOE Seeks Volunteers For Code Of Conduct Review


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Should Verona public school children be disciplined by the schools for behavior that occurred beyond the classroom? That’s the question that will be before a new volunteer committee being created by the Verona Board of Education.

For several years now, Verona has had what the BOE calls a “24/7” conduct policy: If a public school student does something at any hour of any day that results in a police report, even if it was off school grounds, the Board can mete out consequences. But a similar policy at Bergen County’s Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District was ruled unlawful in September 2010 and Verona’s BOE has been watching the appeals on the case ever since.  The decision in that case limits a board’s authority to tell students that they can’t participate in extracurricular activities as a result of improper conduct off school grounds.

The potential pitfalls of the Indian Hills decision were highlighted in November when Wayne Hills banned nine high school players from playing in a state sectional football championship after they were arrested for assault in October. The players appealed to the New Jersey Board of Education but Christopher Cerf, the acting commissioner, sided with the decision of the administrative law judge who had heard the case and upheld the suspension. The state had, to that point, been somewhat light in guidance about what boards of education should do in the wake of the Indian Hills decision.

At the last BOE meeting, athletics committee member Joseph Bellino said Verona’s volunteer group will meet three times to review the code of conduct policy and then make a recommendation to the Board. The meetings will take place in January, February and March. You do not need legal experience to serve; the Board is looking for as broad a spectrum of views as possible. If you are interested, send a letter to Bellino in care of the BOE office at 121 Fairview Avenue or send an e-mail.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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