|Back to May Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 220||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||MAY 2004|
|Ridgewood Parents Score Final Victory on Surveys|
New Jersey parents who oppose nosy questionnaires in schools can breathe a
sigh of relief since the state supreme court in March rejected an appeal of the
constitutionality of a law restricting school surveys.
The plaintiff school board president was an advocate of a controversial November 1999 student survey in Ridgewood, NJ that was administered without written parental consent and questioned students in grades 7-12 about sex, drugs, abuse and violence. A bill to require advance parental consent to such surveys was conditionally vetoed by Gov. Whitman three years ago, but a similar law was later signed by acting Gov. DiFrancesco. Three plaintiffs challenged the law on the ground that it had only minor differences from the one previously vetoed.
A state appeals court ruled against the plaintiffs last December, holding that a bill passed by simple majorities of both houses and signed by the governor is valid regardless of whether a bill with the same or similar language has been previously vetoed in the same legislative session. (See Education Reporter, Jan. 2004.) The New Jersey supreme court declined to hear an appeal by the plaintiffs, thus ending the dispute.