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Gish v. Board of Education of Borough of Paramus

Decided: November 4, 1976.

JOHN GISH, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE BOROUGH OF PARAMUS, BERGEN COUNTY, RESPONDENT-RESPONDENT



Matthews, Seidman and Horn.

Per Curiam

This appeal represents another step in the continuing efforts of appellant John Gish to resist conformance to a directive of the Paramus Board of Education (board) that he submit to a psychiatric examination. An earlier unsuccessful proceeding by which he challenged the constitutionality of the statutes under which the board acted, N.J.S.A. 18A:16-2 and 3, is reported as Kochman v. Keansburg Bd. of Ed. , 124 N.J. Super. 203 (Ch. Div. 1973). These statutes read as follows:

18A:16-2. Physical examinations; requirement

Every board of education shall require all of its employees, and may require any candidate for employment, to undergo a physical examination, the scope whereof shall be determined under rules of the state board, at least once in every year and may require additional individual psychiatric or physical examinations of any employee, whenever, in the judgment of the board, an employee shows evidence of deviation from normal, physical or mental health.

Any such examination may, if the board so requires, include laboratory tests of fluoroscopic or X-ray procedures for the obtaining of additional diagnostic data.

18A:16-3. Character of examinations

Any such examination may be made by a physician or institution designated by the board, in which case the cost thereof and of all laboratory tests and fluoroscopic or X-ray procedures shall be borne by the board or, at the option of the employee, they may be made by a physician or institution of his own choosing, approved by the board, in which case said examination shall be made at the employee's expense.

In affirming the constitutionality of these statutes Judge Lane appropriately stated:

Before a teacher is ordered to submit to a psychiatric examination, he is entitled to a statement of the reasons for such examination, cf., Monks v. N.J. State Parole Board , 58 N.J. 238, 249-250 (1971), and to a hearing, if requested, cf. Williams v. Sills , 55 N.J. 178, 186 (1970), * * *. [ Kochman, supra at 213]

A brief history of the events constituting the prelude to this appeal is necessary. Appellant has been employed as a teacher in a high school under the jurisdiction of the board since 1965. Until 1975 he taught classes in English and related subjects. In addition he was the advisor to the high school newspaper staff for several years, led the production of a school play and for a number of years led a discussion on "Great Books." In June 1972 Gish assumed the presidency of the New Jersey Gay Activists Alliance and thereafter participated in a number of communications through various public media in which he promoted the Alliance. He also attended a convention of the National Education Association and helped organize a caucus there.

On July 10, 1972, following a meeting held that day, the board adopted a resolution directing appellant to undergo a psychiatric examination by Dr. Richard Roukema pursuant to the foregoing laws. This resolution recited as reasons for the directive that the board had authorized its Superintendent (of Schools) and the board attorney to consult with Dr. Roukema, the board's consulting psychiatrist, as to his

opinion whether the "overt and public behavior" of Gish indicated a strong possibility of potential psychological harm to students of the school district as the result of their continued association with ...


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