In a case involving a Roselle high school student with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), a NJ Superior Court has ordered the Roselle school district to provide compensatory education to make up for time lost when the student was improperly expelled from school.

ELC represented the student in his successful effort to overturn the expulsion, and then secure compensatory services to get his education back on track.

The student spoke no English when he arrived in this country in 2000, but worked hard, earning good grades and making steady progress towards English literacy. He was, however, constantly bullied at school because of his limited English skills. Despite complaints by the student and his aunt, school personnel did nothing to intervene. After the student brought a broken BB gun to school to scare off his tormentors, he was permanently expelled and offered no further educational services.

ELC attorney David Giles challenged the expulsion, presenting several psychologists who testified that the student posed no risk of danger. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) agreed and overturned the expulsion. The ALJ also ruled that the district failed to provide adequate notice and produce key witnesses, a violation of basic due process. The Commissioner of Education affirmed the ruling and ordered the district to revise its discipline policy to ensure that it provides alternative educational placements when expelling students.

After reinstating the student, the district still refused to offer compensatory education. ELC then sought relief in the Superior Court and, on October 5th, the Court ordered the district to provide individual tutoring in English by a certified teacher for a minimum of two hours a week, and to ensure the student achieves grade competency by year’s end.

This case is typical of the free legal services in education disputes provided by ELC to income-eligible children and parents. ELC is a legal services organization under NJ Court rules, and receives support for its legal assistance program from the NJ Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) program and NJ Protection Advocacy, Inc.

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Sharon Krengel
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications
973-624-1815, x240