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Legal Memorandum: Dismissal of Tenure Charges in NJ

Issue: Does New Jersey law require dismissal of tenure charges if a specific statement of evidence supporting tenure charges does not specifically put the teacher on notice of the exact grounds for the charges but nonetheless give him sufficient notice to respond to the conduct charged.

Area of Law: Education Law, Employee Law
Keywords: Dismissal of tenure charges; Grounds for the charges; Sufficient notice
Jurisdiction:  New Jersey
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2009

While the law does require both written tenure charges and a statement of facts supporting the charges, notice to the teacher of the charges against him or her is the important factor.  “In cases in which charges have been found to have been procedurally deficient, the respondent is usually unable to respond because the charges are not specific enough.”  Galante v. Board of Educ. of North Arlington, EDU 11479-06 (June 2, 2008).  But, when the charges are factually specific to enable the teacher to respond, though not specifically charging a teacher with unbecoming conduct, the charges are not procedurally deficient.  Id. 

These principles are consistent with the decision in In the Matter of the Tenure Hearing of Frank King, EDU 4489-07 (Aug. 22, 2007).  There, the charges against the teacher were accompanied by no statement of evidence supporting the charges, were based on hearsay, and were not specific enough to enable the teacher to respond.  They contained no specific dates, times, persons involved or other specific facts.  Accordingly, the tenure charges were dismissed.

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