Legal Question for Camden (N.J.): What Constitutes a Toxic School?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Does a child attending a low-performing New Jersey school district -- arguably the state’s lowest-performing district -- have a constitutional right to pursue a better education elsewhere?

That question was at the heart of a legal hearing held yesterday in a nondescript administrative courtroom in Mercerville, where a group of Camden families led by some outspoken advocates have filed a complaint demanding that they be freed from attending Camden schools and instead receive payments to attend schools of their choice, public or private.

The complaint was filed last week with state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, and the hearing yesterday was in administrative court to consider a request for immediate relief for the three lead plaintiffs.

The two-hour session ended with the administrative law judge, Edward Delanoy, saying he would make a decision in the coming days.

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