School Ethics Commission Advisory Opinions

Q. Who may request advisory opinions from the School Ethics Commission?
A.
Only school officials may request and obtain an advisory opinion from the Commission. A school official may request an advisory opinion regarding his or her own prospective conduct.

Q. Can a school official request an Advisory Opinion regarding the conduct of another school official?
A. Yes. A school official may seek an advisory opinion from the Commission as to the proposed conduct of another school official. However, s/he must show the Commission that s/he has copied the school official whose proposed conduct is the subject of the request. The school official whose conduct is in question will then have 10 days from the date of the advisory opinion to respond.

Q. On what type of conduct may a school official request advice?
A. Any school official may request an advisory opinion as to whether any proposed conduct or activity of a school official would in the Commission’s opinion constitute a violation of the act. The Commission cannot provide advice on conduct that has occurred in the past, nor can the Commission provide advice on the conduct of school employees who are not school officials.

Q. How does a school official go about obtaining an advisory opinion from the School Ethics Commission?
A. Any school official may request an advisory opinion by writing a letter to the School Ethics Commission at the N.J. Department of Education, P.O. Box 500, Trenton, NJ 08625. The letter should set forth the position of the school official, the nature of the prospective conduct that the school official proposes to undertake and all relevant facts.  The Commission will contact the school official making the request, if it needs additional information.

Q: Could my request be declined?
A:  Yes, the Commission may decline to accept an advisory opinion request where its public advisories sufficiently address the questions raised in the request  (see, http://www.nj.gov/education/legal/) or where the request does not meet the requirements set forth above.

Q.  How long will it take to get an opinion, if my request is accepted?
A:  Ordinarily, the Commission considers the request at its next monthly meeting following its receipt of all relevant information and documentation needed to make a determination on the request. However,  the Commission’s issuance of advisories is dependent upon the scope and complexity of the request, the Commission’s receipt of all relevant information, as well as the existence of competing priorities.