Ethics 12-24(d) – Independence of Judgment  Complainant filed a complaint with the School Ethics Commission alleging that a former board member had violated the School Ethics Act when she responded to a question on social media as to why she had blocked certain members from the public from her Facebook page. Responded responded that she blocked certain people due to the harassment of her own child.  Complainant alleged that his statement, by attributing harassment to those persons that had been blocked, had the affect of accusing certain children of the harassing behavior.  The School Ethics Commission held that there was no violation of the School Ethics Act. The Commission also provided helpful guidance on disclaimer statements that school board members can use on social media to insure that it is clear that any dialogue is done in a private capacity and not in his or her role as a board member.  Melnyk v. Fiel 3/26/2019.

Ethics-Generally  The complaint alleged that certain comments and votes of the board member violated the Act by administering the schools, making personal promises/private action, and failing to appoint the best qualified personnel after consideration of the CSA.  Fredericks v. Foody 4/22/2019.

Respondent was a member and Board President of the South Orange-Maplewood School District. During her tenure, a fellow board member was involved in a traffic stop with police in which her conduct was questioned as inappropriate. During the investigation into the conduct of the Board member, it was alleged that defendant overstepped her bounds by withholding information from other board members, concealing the conduct of the member and deceiving the board by stating that the matter could not be discussed during the pendency of the investigation.  In response to a motion to dismiss, the School Ethics Commission dismissed the charges stating that, even if all facts were true, there was no evidence that petitioner violated the School Ethics Act by waiting to discuss the matter with the Board while it was being investigated.  Fields v. Lawson-Muhammad 3/26/2019.

Settlement-Agreement  This case was resolved via a settlement agreement.  Walker v. Raftopoulos-Johnson 3/26/2019.