Case: American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. Butler Public School District

14-00032 | New Jersey state trial court

Filed Date: March 7, 2014

Closed Date: 2014

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case is part of an ACLU campaign across the state of New Jersey. Following a DOJ letter stating that all children have equal access to public education, the ACLU sent a letter to 136 school districts it had determined to have strict identification requirements for adults to enroll children in school. These policies were against state and federal law, and significantly impacted the children of undocumented immigrants. When eight of the districts failed to change their restrictive policies, …

This case is part of an ACLU campaign across the state of New Jersey. Following a DOJ letter stating that all children have equal access to public education, the ACLU sent a letter to 136 school districts it had determined to have strict identification requirements for adults to enroll children in school. These policies were against state and federal law, and significantly impacted the children of undocumented immigrants. When eight of the districts failed to change their restrictive policies, ACLU-NJ filed a lawsuit against each of them. The Butler Public School District was the first of those districts, preceding even the DOJ letter.

On March 7, 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) filed this lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Morris County, Chancery Division. The plaintiff sued Butler Public School District under the equal protection cause of the 14th Amendment and two sections of the New Jersey Constitution, including its sections on equal protection and thorough and efficient education. The ACLU-NJ sued on behalf of its own interests as a long-time advocate of immigration rights, as well as on behalf of immigrant residents of Butler Township. The ACLU-NJ claimed that the school district's registration process unfairly discriminated against the children of undocumented parents by requiring a driver's license.

In Butler, during the registration of kindergarten and new students, parents were given a list of required documents, several of which are used to prove residency in the township. One of those required documents was a driver's license, which undocumented immigrants were unable to obtain without a social security number or valid immigration paperwork. Without the license, children of these immigrants were unable to attend school, depriving them of their right to education.

On March 11, 2014 the district chose to change its policies rather than pursue the lawsuit, although documentation of a settlement is currently unavailable.

In addition to Butler, the other seven districts altered their discriminatory practices within a week of being sued by the ACLU-NJ (ACLU-NJ Statement).

The other district lawsuits brought by ACLU-NJ are also available in the Clearinghouse: Audubon School District, Galloway Township Public School District, Glouster Township Public School District, North Brunswick Public School District, Old Bridge Township Public School District, Perth Amboy Public School District, and Somerdale Park Public School District.

Summary Authors

Carolyn Weltman (11/15/2015)

Related Cases

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. Audubon Public School District, New Jersey state trial court (2014)

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. Galloway Township Public Schools, New Jersey state trial court (2014)

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. Gloucester Township Public School District, New Jersey state trial court (2014)

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. North Brunswick Public School District, New Jersey state trial court (2014)

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. Old Bridge Township Public School District, New Jersey state trial court (2014)

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. Perth Amboy Public School District, New Jersey state trial court (2014)

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. Somerdale Park Public School District, New Jersey state trial court (2014)

People


Judge(s)

Hansbury, Stephan C. (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barocas, Edward (New Jersey)

LoCicero, Jeanne (New Jersey)

Shalom, Alexander (New Jersey)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Judge(s)

Hansbury, Stephan C. (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barocas, Edward (New Jersey)

LoCicero, Jeanne (New Jersey)

Shalom, Alexander (New Jersey)

Other Attorney(s)

Rosenfelt, Philip H. (District of Columbia)

Samuels, Jocelyn (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Verified Complaint and Designation of Trial Counsel

March 7, 2014 Complaint

Letter Brief In Support of Order to Show Cause with Temporary Restraints

March 7, 2014 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Dear Colleague Letter on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in Public Schools

May 8, 2014 Notice Letter

Resources

Title Description External URL

ACLU-NJ Files Seven Lawsuits Against School Districts' Discriminatory Enrollment Policies

American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) filed seven lawsuits against New Jersey school districts that have failed to comply with state and federal constitutional law requirements p… June 2, 2014 https://www.aclu-nj.org/news/2014/06/02/aclu-nj-files-seven-lawsuits-against-school-districts-discri

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: New Jersey

Case Type(s):

Education

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 7, 2014

Closing Date: 2014

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization. Founded in 1960, the ACLU-NJ has approximately 12,000 members and donors in New Jersey and tens of thousands of supporters across the state. Its primary office is in Newark, New Jersey. The ACLU-NJ is the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, which was founded in 1920 and is composed of hundreds of thousands of members and supporters nationwide.

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Butler Public School District (Butler, Morris), School District

Defendant Type(s):

Elementary/Secondary School

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Voluntary Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: 0

Issues

Discrimination-basis:

Immigration status