On July 13, NJSBA virtually hosted the Spring School Law Forum, which featured a variety of speakers on topics including diversity, equity and inclusion; public meetings; ethics; harassment, intimidation and bullying; and other hot topics in school law. Practicing school board attorneys shared insights on recent court decisions, administrative rulings, statutes and codes that affect public education and school district governance.

The event kicked off with remarks by John Croot of Adams, Gutierrez & Lattiboudere, who completed his term as president of the New Jersey Association of School Attorneys. School board attorneys belong to the Association of School Attorneys as a benefit of NJSBA’s Associate Membership Program for School Attorneys. Other benefits of AMPSA membership range from training opportunities, resources for information and assistance, publications and subscriptions.

Kathleen Asher, NJSBA’s senior manager of labor relations, and John Burns, the Association’s senior legislative counsel, opened the day’s sessions with a review of the latest court decisions and legislative updates in the realm of school law. William Donio and Christopher Sedefian from Cooper Levenson, and Schenk, Price, Smith, and King LLP, respectively, followed with a presentation titled “Do’s, Don’ts and Doh’s — Public Meetings and Helpful Solutions,” which provided an overview of legal issues that may arise during school board public meetings.

Next was a presentation on the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion by Teresa Moore of Riker Danzig; Perry Lattiboudere of the law firm Adams, Gutierrez, and Lattiboudere; and Tamika Reese from Shiftview Consulting. The presenters discussed the opportunities and challenges school districts may face in highlighting and promoting diversity; examining the impact of unconscious bias and economic disparities; and encouraging safe, welcoming and inclusive educational environments.

Following a lunch break, Lauren Tedesco-Dallas and Geoff Stark of Capehart Scatchard and David Nash from the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association updated attendees on recent changes in the law related to harassment, intimidation and bullying. Michael Kaelber from NJPSA and Richard Bauch of Porzio, Bromberg and Newman then presented on school ethics and school board referendums. Finally, David Rubin of the Busch Law Group closed the day’s sessions with a presentation on attorney ethics titled, “Update on Legal Ethics for School Attorneys – Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.”

At the close of the forum, Kaelber, who formerly served the New Jersey School Boards Association as its director of legal and labor relations services, was installed as the new president of the Association of School Attorneys, and Croot assumed the position of immediate past president.

If you did not attend the Spring School Law Forum, you can still register and watch the sessions on demand.

Each year, NJSBA hosts two school law forums, scheduled for the spring and fall, respectively. Interested members should stay tuned to School Board Notes for more information about the fall 2022 School Law Forum.