This complaint procedure is in addition to and does not prevent parents/guardians from using any option in the procedural safeguards system.
Step 1 – Reporting
- A student or parent/guardian who believes s/he has been subject to conduct by any student, employee or third party that constitutes a violation of this policy is encouraged to immediately report the incident to the Section 504 building administrator. Any person with knowledge of conduct that may violate this policy, is encouraged to immediately report the matter to the Section 504 building administrator.
- A school employee who suspects or is notified that a student has been subject to conduct that constitutes a violation of this policy shall immediately report the incident to the Section 504 building administrator, as well as properly making any mandatory police or child protective services reports required by law.
- If the Section 504 building administrator is the subject of a complaint, the student, parent/guardian or employee shall report the incident directly to the District’s Section 504 Coordinator.
- The complainant or reporting employee may be encouraged to use the District's report form, available from the Section 504 building administrator or Section 504 Coordinator, or to put the complaint in writing; however, oral complaints shall be accepted, documented and the procedures of this policy implemented. The person accepting the verbal or written complaint may provide factual information on the complaint and the investigative process, the impact of choosing to seek confidentiality and the right to file criminal charges. In all other respects, the person accepting the complaint shall handle the report objectively, neutrally and professionally, setting aside personal biases that might favor or disfavor the complainant or those accused of a violation of this policy.
Step 2 – Investigation
- Where an attorney is not used to conduct an investigation into a discrimination complaint, only individuals who have received basic training on the applicable law, this policy and how to conduct a proper investigation shall be authorized to conduct an investigation of a complaint made pursuant to this policy.
- The investigator shall work with the Section 504 Coordinator to assess the anticipated scope of the investigation, who needs to be interviewed and what records may be relevant to the investigation.
- The investigator shall conduct an adequate, reliable and impartial investigation. The complainant and the accused shall be provided the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence during the course of the investigation. When the initial complaint involves allegations relating to conduct which took place away from school property, school-sponsored activities or school conveyances, the investigation may include inquiries related to these allegations to determine whether they resulted in continuing effects such as harassment in school settings.
- The investigation may consist of individual interviews with the complainant, the accused, and others with knowledge relative to the allegations. The investigator may also evaluate any other information and materials relevant to the investigation. The person making the report, parties, parents/guardians and witnesses shall be informed of the prohibition against retaliation for anyone's participation in the process and that conduct believed to be retaliatory should be reported. All individuals providing statements or other information or participating in investigation shall be instructed to keep the matter confidential and to report any concerns about confidentiality to the investigator.
- If the investigation reveals that the conduct being investigated may involve a violation of criminal law, the investigator shall promptly notify the Section 504 Coordinator, who shall promptly inform law enforcement authorities about the allegations.
- The obligation to conduct this investigation shall not be negated by the fact that a criminal or child protective services investigation of the allegations is pending or has been concluded. The investigator should coordinate with any other ongoing investigations of the allegations, including agreeing to requests for a short delay in fulfilling the district's investigative responsibilities during the fact-finding portion of a criminal or child protective services investigation. Such delays shall not extend beyond the time necessary to prevent interference with or disruption of the criminal or child protective services investigation.
Step 3 – Investigative Report
- The investigator shall prepare and submit a written report to the Section 504 Coordinator within twenty (20) days of the initial report of alleged discrimination, unless the nature of the allegations, anticipated extent of the investigation or the availability of witnesses requires the investigator and the Section 504 Coordinator to establish a different due date. The parties shall be notified of the anticipated date the investigative report will be completed and of any changes to the anticipated due date during the course of the investigation.
- The report shall include a summary of the investigation, a determination of whether the complaint has been substantiated as factual, the information and evaluation that formed the basis for this determination, and whether the conduct violated this policy and of any other violations of law or Board policy which may warrant further district action, and a recommended disposition of the complaint. An investigation into disability harassment shall consider the record as a whole and the totality of circumstances in determining whether a violation of this policy has occurred, recognizing that persistent and pervasive conduct, when taken together, may be a violation even when the separate incidents are not severe.
- The complainant and the accused shall be informed of the outcome of the investigation, including the recommended disposition, within a reasonable time of the submission of the written report. The accused shall not be notified of the individual remedies offered or provided to the complainant.
Step 4 – District Action
- If the investigation results in a finding that some or all of the allegations of the complaint are established and constitute a violation of this policy, the district shall take prompt, corrective action designed to ensure that such conduct ceases and that no retaliation occurs. The district shall promptly take appropriate steps to prevent the recurrence of the prohibited conduct and to address the discriminatory effect the prohibited conduct had on the complainant and the school or school program environment. District staff shall document the corrective action taken and, where not prohibited by law, inform the complainant. The Section 504 Coordinator shall follow up by assessing the effectiveness of the corrective action at reasonable intervals.
- If the investigation results in a finding that a different policy was violated separately from or in addition to violations of this policy, or that there are circumstances warranting further action, such matters shall be addressed at the conclusion of this investigation or through disciplinary or other appropriate referrals where further evaluation or investigation is necessary.
- Disciplinary actions shall be consistent with the Code of Student Conduct, Board policies and administrative regulations, district procedures, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and state and federal laws.