CODES OF STUDENT CONDUCT

December 12, 2003

TO: Chief School Administrators/Charter School Lead Persons
FROM: William L. Librera, Ed.D.
Commissioner
SUBJECT: No Child Left Behind Act of 2001-Transfer of Disciplinary Records  Requirement

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, contains a provision in Section 4155 that requires each state to have in place, a procedure to facilitate the transfer of a student’s disciplinary records, with respect to a suspension or expulsion, when the student enrolls in another public or private elementary or secondary school. Specifically, public schools are required to provide for the transfer of these records when the student is enrolling in either a public or private elementary or secondary school; however, private schools are not subject to these requirements. The transfer of disciplinary records policy pursuant to this requirement must be consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g). Further, this federal requirement does not apply to any disciplinary records that are such transferred from a private, parochial or other nonpublic school, person, institution or other entity that provides education below the college level.

Currently the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:36-19a and N.J.A.C. 6.5(c)10iv require that the chief school administrator or administrator’s designee of any local school district that enrolls a new student shall request, in writing, the student’s records from the school district of last attendance within two weeks from the date that the student enrolls in the new school district. Under the state law and rules, the school district of last attendance must also provide to the receiving district all information in the student’s record related to disciplinary actions taken against the student by the district and notify the receiving district when it has received any information pursuant to section 1 of P.L. 1982, c.79 (C.2A:4A-60). This includes the records with respect to suspension and expulsion as required under the NCLB. Though written consent of the parent or adult student is not required as a condition of transfer of the information, written notice must be provided to the parent or adult student.

Additionally, the provisions of N.J.A.C. 6.5(c)10iii require that the school district of last attendance send the requested student records to the chief school administrator, or his or her designee, within ten days after the transfer has been verified by the requesting school.

These state laws and regulations meet the NCLB Section 4155 requirement for school districts; however, both are silent regarding these requirements when a private school enrolls a new student. Notwithstanding that New Jersey law does not specifically require it; federal law (NCLB) now requires that pupil disciplinary records, with respect to a suspension or expulsion, be provided to private schools when such records are requested because a pupil is transferring there. Therefore, should you receive a request from a private school for the records of a pupil who has transferred, or will be transferring to that school, you are obligated to provide the student’s disciplinary records with respect to a suspension or expulsion in the same manner as you would to a public school. Private schools are defined as sectarian or nonsectarian nonprofit institutional day or residential schools that provide education as determined under state law for students placed by their parents or legal guardians and that are controlled by other than public authority.

Should you have any questions regarding this federal requirement, please contact Gary L. Vermeire, program coordinator, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Unit, Office of Program Support Services at (609) 292-5935. General questions regarding pupil records should be directed to Pam Castellanos, executive assistant, Central Regional Office at (609) 984-6755.

WLL/IB

c: Dwight Pfennig
Gloria Hancock
Senior Staff
Susan Martz
Gary L. Vermeire
Pam Castellanos
Principals, Nonpublic Schools
Nonpublic Advisory Committee
County Superintendents