In an agreement signed in May 2014, the former president of the Mercer County Vocational Education Association agreed to drop his lawsuit against the Mercer County Technical Schools Board of Education in exchange for being allowed to enter upon school board property without first obtaining written permission from the school superintendent. 

In his lawsuit, Robert Murphy of Chesterfield, claimed that in December 2012 the school board informed him that he could not enter onto any school board premises or attend any board-sponsored event unless he first received written permission from Superintendent Kimberly Schneider.  He claims he was told that if he did not comply, “he would be considered trespassing in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3, would be immediately escorted off the premises, and subject to possible criminal charges.”  Murphy claimed that the directive violated the board’s policy and violated his constitutional right to free speech.  He claimed that the board issued the directive in order to “intimidate Plaintiff as former President of the Mercer County Vocational Education Association” as well as to “intimidate the current members of the Mercer County Vocational Education Association.”  The lawsuit and settlement agreement are on-line here.

The settlement agreement provided that both the school board and Murphy would pay their own legal expenses.  It also confirmed that Murphy is permitted access to school property and events as long as he obeys all the board’s rules and provides the board with one business day advance notice of his visit.  As an additional stipulation, Murphy agreed that he was to have “no contact or other interaction with Board employee Lori Perlow when he is present on the properties or facilities of the Board.”  The agreement does not explain why Murphy is not allowed to contact or interact with this specific employee.

Murphy was represented in his lawsuit by Arnold M. Melik of Princeton.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]