Uniform Complaint Procedures

ALL STUDENTS, PARENTS, STAFF, ADVISORY COMMITTEES, AND COMMUNITY
Certain rights are protected by federal and state laws and regulations. To help make you aware of your rights, The District is providing you with this notice. Should you utilize any of the procedures noted below your confidentiality and protection from retaliation is assured. If you have any questions or need to clarify something you read here, please contact any administrator in the District.

The Board of Education recognizes that the district has primary responsibility for insuring that it complies with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs. The district shall investigate and seek to resolve complaints at the local level. The district shall follow the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) when addressing complaints alleging:

Unlawful discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, color or physical or mental disability, or failure to comply with state and/or federal laws in consolidated categorical aid programs, child nutrition programs, and special education programs.

The Board acknowledges and respects parents and students rights to privacy. Complaints shall be investigated in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the parties and the facts. This includes keeping the identity of the complainant confidential except to the extent necessary to carry out the investigation, as determined by the superintendent or designee on a case-by-case basis.

The superintendent shall ensure that employees designated to investigate complaints are knowledgeable about the laws and programs for which they are responsible. Such employees may have access to legal counsel as determined by the superintendent or designee.
This notification will be distributed annually to parents or students with their beginning of year packet or in an enrollment packet.

All employees shall receive notification in the beginning of the year packet. All advisory council members shall receive notification at their first meeting of each year. Other interested parties may receive notification by request to the District Secretary.

Filing of Complaint
Any individual, public agency, or organization may file a written complaint of alleged noncompliance with the superintendent who is designated by the Board to receive and investigate complaints and ensure district compliance with law.
The complaint must be initiated no later than six months from the date when the alleged discrimination occurred or when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination unless the superintendent of public instruction grants an extension.
Investigation of Complaint
The school principal shall hold an investigative meeting no later than 15 calendar days of receiving the complaint. During this process there will be an opportunity for complainants and/or representatives to present relevant information.

Written Decision
Within 20 calendar days of receiving the complaint, the school principal shall prepare and send to the complainant a written report of the District’s investigation and decision.

Appeal to the Superintendent
If a complainant is dissatisfied with the school principal’s decision, he/she may, within five calendar days, forward the written complaint to the superintendent.

Within five calendar days of receiving the complaint, the superintendent shall discuss with the complainant the possibility of using mediation or shall attempt to resolve the issue by administrative review. If all parties agree to mediation, the superintendent shall make all arrangements for this process.

If the mediation process or the administrative review do not resolve the problem within 10 calendar days, the area superintendent will send the complainant a written report of the decision.

Appeal to the Board of Education
If the mediation process of administrative review do not resolve the problem, the complainant may appeal to the Board of Education by submitting a letter to the District Superintendent within five calendar days after the termination of mediation or administrative review. The Board may consider the matter at its next regular Board meeting or at a special Board meeting convened to meet the 60 calendar days limit within which the complaint must be answered. The Board may decide not to hear the complaint, in which case the decision of the superintendent shall be the District’s final written decision. If the Board hears the complaint, the Superintendent shall send the Board’s decision to the complainant within 60 calendar days of the District’s initially receiving the complaint or within an extended time period that has been specified in a written agreement with the complainant. This statement shall contain:
    •    Finding and disposition of the complaint
    •    Corrective actions (if any)
    •    Rationale for such disposition
    •    Procedures for initiating an appeal to the California Department of Education.

Appeal to the California Department of Education
If a complainant is dissatisfied with the District’s decision, he/she may appeal in writing to the California Department of Education within 15 calendar days of receiving the District’s decision. For good cause, the Superintendent of Public Instruction may grant an extension for filing appeals.
If dissatisfied with the California Department of Education’s resolution of a complaint regarding Title 1, the complainant may request its review by the United States Secretary of Education.

Civil Law Remedies
Nothing in this policy precludes a complainant from pursuing available civil law remedies outside of the district's complaint procedures. Such remedies may include mediation centers, public/private interest attorneys, injunctions, restraining orders, etc. For discrimination complaints, however, a complainant must wait until 60 days has elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the California Department of Education before pursuing civil law remedies. The moratorium does not apply to injunctive relief and is applicable only if the district has appropriately, and in a timely manner, apprised the complainant of his/her right to file a complaint.

The U.S. Department of Education, office for Civil Rights, enforces compliance with Section 504, the ADA, and Title IX, and may be contacted for assistance with complaints relating to these laws and their regulations. The (state) Department of Fair Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are agencies that enforce compliance with state and federal laws and regulations protecting individuals from employment discrimination and may be contacted for assistance with complaints of employment discrimination.

Sexual Harassment
The Spencer Valley Elementary School District recognizes that harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of both federal and state employment discrimination laws as well as District Policy and Administrative Procedure. The District is committed to providing an environment free from sexual harassment, and will not tolerate such conduct on the part of any District employee or student.
Anyone with a complaint of sexual harassment should implement these complaint procedures as soon as possible. These procedures are designed to effectively manage the investigatory process while protecting the rights of both the complainant and respondent. The detailed nature of the procedure is to ensure the process is clear and understandable. Any person with questions or concerns about the process may, at any time, ask for assistance from the investigator, the superintendent/principal. No individual will suffer reprisals for reporting any incidents of sexual harassment or making any complaints.

The District will promptly and thoroughly investigate any complaints of sexual harassment, and will take expeditious action to resolve such complaints, in accordance with these procedures.
Sexual Harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, made by someone from or in the school setting.
Sexual Harassment may be considered to occur under any of the following conditions.
    1.    Submission to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s school progress.
    2.    Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as the basis of school decisions affecting the individual.
    3.    The conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact upon the individual’s school performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive school environment.
    4.    Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as the basis for any decision affecting the individual regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through Spencer Valley Elementary School District.

Forms of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
    1.    Deliberate written or oral comments, gestures, or physical contacts of a sexual nature or demeaning to one’s gender, which are unwelcome and/or interfere with school productivity.
    2.    Implicit or explicit sexual behavior by a fellow student or District employee which as the effect of controlling, influencing, or otherwise affecting the school environment.
    3.    Unwelcome suggestive, vulgar, or obscene letters, notes, posters, calendars, or other visual products, or derogatory comments, slurs, and/or jokes of a sexual nature.