Protests, Conflict & Social Media Among Topics at NJSBA’s Workshop 2017

Atlantic City, N.J. Sept. 18, 2017 – Five attorneys from Cooper Levenson’s Education/School Law Practice Group will be presenting at the NJSBA/NJASA/NJASBO Workshop 2017, to be held Oct. 23-26, 2017 at the Atlantic City Convention Center, One Convention Blvd., Atlantic City, N.J. This annual gathering is the largest and most comprehensive training conference for the education community in New Jersey.

The theme for Workshop 2017, “Education for a Common Purpose,” reflects the evolution of public education and its impact on our country, according to the NJSBA. Topics presented by Cooper Levenson’s attorneys are geared toward school board members, and include how to handle protests and conflicts, and the responsible use of social media. Presentations will take place in the Cooper Levenson Learning Lab at the conference.

On Tues., Oct. 24, from 11-11:30 a.m., Kelli Prinz, Amy Houck Elco and Yolanda Melville will present, “WHY ME? Straight Talk about Board Member Conflicts.” The attorneys will discuss board member conflicts in the context of the Code of Ethics, the School Ethics Act, and nepotism regulations. They will share decisions and advisory opinions in situations such as the selection of the Superintendent or negotiations on collective bargaining.

On Tues., Oct. 24, from 1-1:30 p.m., William S. Donio and Christopher Barrett will present “Disaster-piece Theater,” to demonstrate the various legal and policy mechanisms that are available to a board of education when a meeting goes awry. Emphasis will be placed on the role of the Chair in presiding over the meeting and the ability (and inability) of a board of education to silence outspoken commenters (that range from other BOE members, members of the public, student protesters, teachers/school personnel, etc.) on matters that are (and are not) before the board. Legal discussion will touch on First Amendment concerns.

On Wed., Oct. 25, from 2-2:30 p.m. and again at 3-3:30 p.m., William S. Donio and Amy Houck Elco will present, “Post no evil. Like no evil. Tweet no evil: Board member use of Social Media.” With real world examples, the attorneys will discuss board member interaction with the public on personal or official social media accounts and pages. The attorneys will also review legal precedent, advisory opinions, and best practices so board members leave with a better understanding of their legal rights, and the possible ethical consequences of their actions.

Sponsored by New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Association of School Administrators and the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials, Workshop 2017 is the largest training conference for the state’s local school officials. Last year’s event drew nearly 8,000 attendees and featured more than 250 training and information sessions for school board members, superintendents, school business administrators and other district staff, including IT directors, buildings-and-grounds supervisors and curriculum supervisors.

Cooper Levenson is a full service law firm since 1957, with 75 attorneys and New Jersey offices in Atlantic City and Cherry Hill. The firm also has offices in Bear, Del., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and Las Vegas, Nev. For more information, visit