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. 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.
Areas of Concentration
School law, including student, staff, and board operations issues; student residency, student discipline, special education, bullying, sexual harassment, staff tenure proceedings, Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA)/Open Public Records Act (OPRA), insurance defense, and investigations. Employment law including issues such as discrimination claims, grievance arbitrations, unfair practice proceedings, contract negotiations, severance agreements, employee handbooks, leave entitlements, and investigations.
- Secured tenure dismissal of special education teacher for physical and verbal abuse of students, and for inappropriate and offensive statements to staff members. In the Matter of the Tenure Hearing of Curtis Robinson
- Secured tenure dismissal of teacher for insubordination to building administrators, falsification of leave request, and sleeping during State standardized testing. In the Matter of the Tenure Hearing of Christopher Molokwu
- Successfully defended board against challenge to non-renewal of non-tenured teacher alleging improper papering of personnel file. Victor Eisenberg v. Fort Lee Board of Education
- Successfully petitioned for due process relief on behalf of boards rejecting requests for independent evaluations
- Successfully defended school districts in domicile and affidavit pupil disputes, including vacation of special education due process settlement for residential placement due to parent’s change of domicile
- Secured dismissal of civil rights complaints against boards of education on issues of race, gender, age and disability discrimination
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