Senate Ed Committee Returns With Slew Of Nutrition Bills

Posted · Add Comment

The Senate Education Committee moved several pieces of legislation November 30.

Student Nutrition Bills

Among the bills approved were three pieces of legislation related to student nutrition.  These include:

All three bills have been approved by the lower house and will now move the full floor for consideration.

Child Abuse Prevention

In addition, the committee also approved legislation, S-2728 / S-3310 / A-3655 (Diegnan / Cruz-Perez / Turner / Mosquera / Jones / Holley), which requires boards of education to display information about child abuse hotline in each school.  Under the bill, the information must be prominently displayed, give instructions to call 911 for emergencies and must include directions for accessing the department’s website for more information on reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  Currently the Department of Children and Families (DCF) provides free posters to schools in both English and Spanish.  NJPSA worked with the sponsors to ensure the bills language allowed for ease in posting of the required signage.

NJSIAA Changes?

Further, the committee approved legislation, S-3447 (Turner / Greenstein) which would require New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) to allow public high schools in same school district to enter into cooperative sports programs if schools are unable to field varsity teams individually, regardless of school size.

The legislation stems from current preclusion under NJSIAA’s Constitution which does not allow a Group 3 or higher school district to enter into cooperative sports programs for basketball, baseball, softball and spring track, and in football if one of the schools is classified as a Group III school. This bill requires the NJSIAA to allow the schools to enter into cooperative sports programs regardless of the sport or the member schools’ Group classification.

NJPSA is monitoring the legislation.  The bill stems from an issue in West Windsor where the district was unable to field a football team at one of the high schools.  NJPSA will keep you posted if and when this legislation moves forward.

PSSD Immunity

Finally, the committee approved a bill, S-3559 / A-4457 (Caride / Quijano / Singleton) which would provide immunity to board of director members and employees of private schools for students with disabilities (PSSD) if they report incidents of bullying in compliance with school policy.  The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, P.L.2002, c.83 (C.18A:37-13 et seq.), does not explicitly apply to approved private schools for students with disabilities acting under contract to provide educational services on behalf of New Jersey public school districts.  However, State Board of Education regulations promulgated to effectuate this law do include these schools and require them to develop, adopt, and implement a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying on school grounds. This legislation would extend the immunity traditional school employees possess to PSSD employees in these instances.  NJPSA is monitoring the legislation.