Uniform Complaint

Board Policy BP 1312.3 (Adopted May 19, 2021)
Administrative Regulation AR 1312.3
(Adopted May 19, 2021)

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 race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital, pregnancy, or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information, 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 compliance officer 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 compliance officer 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.

Mediation
Within 3 business days, the compliance officer may informally discuss with all the parties the possibility of using mediation. Mediation shall be offered to resolve complaints that involve more than one student and no adult. However, mediation shall not be offered or used to resolve any complaint involving an allegation of sexual assault or where there is a reasonable risk that a party to the mediation would feel compelled to participate. If the parties agree to mediation, the compliance officer shall make all arrangements for this process.

Before initiating the mediation of a complaint alleging retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the compliance officer shall ensure that all parties agree to make the mediator a party to relevant confidential information.The compliance officer shall also notify all parties of the right to end the informal process at any time.

If the mediation process does not resolve the problem within the parameters of law, the compliance officer shall proceed with an investigation of the complaint.

The use of mediation shall not extend the district's timelines for investigating and resolving the complaint unless the complainant agrees in writing to such an extension of time. If mediation is successful and the complaint is withdrawn, then the district shall take only the actions agreed upon through the mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the district shall then continue with subsequent steps specified in this administrative regulation.

Investigation of Complaint
The compliance officer shall begin an investigation into the complaint within 10 business days of receiving the complaint.  Within 1 business day of initiating the investigation, the compliance officer shall provide the complainant and/or the complainant's representative with the opportunity to present the information contained in the complaint to the compliance officer and shall notify the complainant and/or representative of the opportunity to present the compliance officer with any evidence, or information leading to evidence, to support the allegations in the complaint. Such evidence or information may be presented at any time during the investigation.

Timeline
Unless extended by written agreement with the complainant, the investigation report shall be sent to the complainant within 60 calendar days of the district's receipt of the complaint. Within 30 calendar days of receiving the complaint, the compliance officer shall prepare and send to the complainant a written report, as described in the section "Investigation Report" below. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the compliance officer's decision, the complainant may, within five business days, file the complaint in writing with the Board.


The Board may consider the matter at its next regular Board meeting or at a special Board meeting convened in order to meet the 60-day time limit within which the complaint must be answered. When required by law, the matter shall be considered in closed session.  The Board may decide not to hear the complaint, in which case the compliance officer's decision shall be final.  

If the Board hears the complaint, the compliance officer shall send the Board's decision to the complainant within 60 calendar days of the district's initial receipt of the complaint or within the time period that has been specified in a written agreement with the complainant.  (5 CCR 4631)

For any complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying), the respondent shall be informed of any extension of the timeline agreed to by the complainant, shall be sent the district's final written decision, and, in the same manner as the complainant, may file a complaint with the Board if dissatisfied with the decision.

Investigation Report
The investigation report shall include findings of fact based on evidence gathered, a conclusion providing a clear determination for each allegation, corrective action(s) where the district finds merit in the complain, notice of the complainant's and respondent's rights to appeal, and procedures for initiating an appeal to CDE.

Corrective Actions
When a complaint is found to have merit, the compliance officer shall adopt appropriate corrective action permitted by law.

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. If notified that the investigation report failed to address the allegation(s) raised, the district shall within 20 days of the notification, provide CDE and the appellant with an amended investigation report.

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.

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