Frequently Asked Questions on Student Services

Frequently Asked Questions: Student Services

Administration of Medication in Schools

Q. Who is permitted to administer medications to students?

A. Only the following individuals are authorized to administer medication to pupils in schools:

  • School staff holding a current medical or nursing license (e.g., the school physician or school nurse);
  • Substitute school nurse employed by the district;
  • Pupil’s parent or guardian;
  • Pupil approved to self-administer per N.J.S.A. 18A:40-12.3; and
  • School staff designated and trained to administer epinephrine using an auto-injector per N.J.S.A. 18A:40-12.5 and 12.6.

Q. How should medications be administered on a field trip?

A. Students who have been classified as eligible for special education or who have a 504 plan that includes medications cannot be denied access to educational opportunities based on their need for medication during the school day. It is recommended that children who require accommodations because they are on medication should have a 504 plan. The school must make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for these students. Possible options include:

  • Send a school nurse on the trip;
  • Hire a school nurse substitute to go on the trip;
  • Ask the student’s parent or guardian to go on the trip;
  • Confer with the child’s parent and health-care provider to alter the time, dosage, route or kind of medication on the day of the trip and obtain a written order for the change; or
  • Confer with the parent and health-care provider to eliminate the medication on the day of the trip and obtain a written order from the health-care provider for the change.

For more information on 504 plans, visit http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html.

HIV Policy and Practice in New Jersey Public Schools

Q. Who needs to know a student or employee is HIV infected?

A. Pupils, parents or guardians and employees are not obligated to inform school personnel regarding their HIV status and cannot be required to do so in accordance with state regulation and statute. School staff with knowledge of the HIV status of others in the school is not at liberty to share that information without specific written consent.

Everyone needs to understand that the blood of any student or employee could be infected with a bloodborne pathogen such as HIV or Hepatitis B, and that the use of universal precautions is sufficient to protect against transmission of bloodborne diseases under normal conditions in regular educational programs.. Schools are required to help school staff understand and maintain minimal risk through at least annual inservice staff training in HIV facts and fallacies and school procedures, and through ready access to necessary protective equipment. Additional instruction of students in universal precautions and first-aid procedures assists school staff in implementing this policy.

Q. How do records related to the HIV status of students relate to other records maintained by the school?

A. While not required to do so, some parents or pupils share HIV status information to obtain health care or educational support. Records and information regarding the HIV status of a pupil may be shared only with written consent of the pupil’s parent or guardian and only with those who need to know to determine the best educational program for the pupil. Good practice calls for a consent form that specifies by name and title the individuals to be informed. School health screening requirements cannot include HIV status since it is an exception to records required by the state as part of student and employee physical examinations.

The standards for maintaining confidentiality of records that identify the HIV status of individuals are established in N.J.S.A. 26:5C, and exceed those established for district pupil records or health records. Therefore, any record identifying an individual’s HIV status should be maintained separately from educational or health records and be released only with written consent or under conditions allowed in the statute. Identifying records could include the written consent form; referral letters from health-care providers; child study team evaluations; or medication records. Should the identified pupil transfer to another school, the HIV identifying records should not be transferred automatically with other health records. Rather, a plan and written consent for transfer should be established with the pupil and parent.

Requirements for Entry Into School

Q. What kind of medical examinations are required of students attending public schools?

A. Students attending public schools are required to show evidence of a medical examination upon entry into school and for the purpose of participating on an intramural or interscholastic athletic team. Additionally, students seeking working papers are required to obtain a statement of medical fitness. For more information regarding student medical examinations, go to: http://www.state.nj.us/education/parents/medQ&A.htm

Q. Is my child required to be immunized before entering school?

A. There are immunization requirements for entry into school. An immunization guidance chart summarizes all requirements is available at the N. J. Department of Health and Senior Services Web site at : http://www.nj.gov/health/forms/imm-7.pdf

Freqently Asked Questions on Education Progarms

State Facilities Education Act (SFEA)

Q. Who provides programs to pupils in state facilities?

A. The N. J. Department of Corrections (DOC), Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Department of Law and Public Safety’s Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) operate educational programs in state facilities in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:7B-1, the State Facilities Education Act (SFEA). Each of these agencies provides educational programs for pupils with educational disabilities, as well as those who are not disabled.

Educational programs by the state entities are funded through state aid from identified districts based on an Oct. 15 pupils count. In general, DOC serves a population between the ages of 18 and 21, while the JJC serves a population from 12 to 17 years old. The DHS serves the largest proportion of SFEA-eligible pupils with educational disabilities with an age range spanning three to 21 years. Enactment of the Comprehensive Educational Improvement and Financing Act (CEIFA) expanded the SFEA to provide 50 percent of the approved per-pupil cost for children confined to county detention centers with the other 50 percent provided by county governments. This initiative is coordinated through JJC’s Office of Education.

Alternative Education

Q. What is an alternative education?

A. Analternative education program is a comprehensive educational program delivered in a non-traditional learning environment that is distinct and separate from an existing general or special education program. The alternative education program shall fulfill program criteria pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-9.2 and be approved by a district board of education, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-9,1(a), or by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-9.1(b). An alternative program addresses individual learning, behavior and health needs of students determined by a school district to be at risk of school failure or who have been mandated for removal from general education, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-5.5, 5.6 and 5.7, as appropriate.

Q. How do alternative education programs get approved?

A. School district-operated programs must be approved by the local board of education. A state agency, public-operated program or department-approved school not operated by a school district interested in operating an alternative education program must apply directly to DOE.

Nonpublic Education

Q. How do I find additional information regarding nonpublic school services for my school or child?

A. If you have a question regarding nonpublic school services, please e-mail nonpublicschoolservices@doe.state.nj.us or call (609) 292-6591.

Home Schooling

Q. What are the homeschooling requirements in New Jersey?

A. The compulsory education law (N.J.S.A. 18A: 38-25) permits children to receive “equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school,” which includes the home; however, DOE does not regulate such instruction. Additional homeschooling frequently asked questions can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/education/genfo/overview/faq_homeschool.htm

Character Education

Q. Where can I find information regarding school climate, including character education or social-emotional learning?

A. DOE provides a variety of resources in the area of school climate. For information regarding the federal Partnerships for Character Education grant, go to www.rucharacter.org. For information regarding the Developing Safe and Civil Schools: A Coordinated Approach for Social-Emotional and Character Development, visit www.teachSECD.com. Information regarding the Title IV-A and Unsafe School Choice Option Training and Technical Assistance Project can be found at http://sdfsc.rutgers.edu.

School Safety and Violence

Q. What standards for discipline are in place regarding weapons possession and violence in schools?

A. State law -- N.J.S.A. 18A:37-9 through 12 and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-5.5 -- requires students who are convicted or adjudicated delinquent for possession of a firearm or who are found to be in possession of a firearm on school property must be removed immediately from the general education program and provided with an alternative program, pending a hearing before the board of education.

State law -- N.J.S.A. 18A:37-2.2 through 2.5 and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-5.6 – also requires students who commit assaults upon members of the school community with a weapon other than a firearm to be removed immediately from the school's general education program and provided with an alternative program, pending a hearing before the board of education.

In addition, DOE has established regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7) on student conduct that provide requirements for codes regarding the following: student conduct, short- and long-term suspensions; student’s due process procedural and educational rights; expulsions; conduct away from school grounds; attendance (including truancy); harassment, intimidation and bullying; and student records and confidentiality.

Q. What strategies are in effect regarding the identification of students with problems that could lead to disruption and violence?

A. Intervention and referral services regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:16-8) require district boards of education to establish and implement in each school building in which general education students are served a coordinated system for the planning and delivery of intervention and referral services designed to assist students who are experiencing learning, behavior or health difficulties and staff who have difficulties in addressing students’ learning behavior or health needs.

Q. How can the public see data on violence and vandalism in a particular district or school?

A. The public will find data summarized by district and school (including incident definitions), as well as the Commissioner’s annual report to the Legislature, at http://www.state.nj.us/education/schools/vandv/index.html.

Q. What options do students have if they become victims of violent criminal offenses?

A. Information on options for student victims of violent criminal offenses may be found in the Unsafe School Choice Option (USCO) Policy at http://www.state.nj.us/education/grants/nclb/policy/unsafe.htm. Additional information is available in USCO Policy Provisions I and II Questions and Answers, which can be found at http://www.nj.gov/education/grants/nclb/policy/unsafeqa.htm.

Student Conduct

Q. Where can I find more information on school requirements for addressing harassment, intimidation and bullying?

A. Information on school requirements for harassment, intimidation and bullying can be found in the regulations in subchapter 7.9 of Chapter 16, Programs to Support Student Development at http://www.state.nj.us/education/code/current/. Guidance for schools to address these requirements can be found in the document titled Model Policy and Guidance for Prohibiting Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying on School Property, at School-Sponsored Functions and on School Buses at http://www.nj.gov/education/students/safety/schools/policy.shtml.

Q. Where can I find school requirements for preventing and intervening with student conduct problems?

A. The requirements for student conduct -- including codes of student conduct, short- and long-term suspensions, expulsions and attendance -- can be found in the regulations in chapter 16, subchapter 7 at http://www.state.nj.us/education/code/current/.

Q.What strategies are in effect for schools to identify and intervene with general education students who have behavior, learning or health problems?

A. Each district board of education is required to establish and implement in each school building in which general education students are served a coordinated system for the planning and delivery of intervention and referral services (I&RS) designed to assist students who are experiencing learning, behavior or health difficulties and staff who have difficulties in addressing students’ learning, behavior or health needs. The I&RS regulations can be found in chapter 16, subchapter 8 at http://www.state.nj.us/education/code/current/. Guidance for I&RS teams can be found in the publication Resource Manual for Intervention and Referral Services at http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/irs/.