MVLA - COMPLAINTS AND COMPLAINT PROCEDURES POLICY
- MISCELLANEOUS COMPLAINTS. The District’s Board Policies (BP) and Administrative Regulations (AR) address and govern complaints concerning: District employees (BP/AR 1312.1), the content or use of instructional materials (BP/AR 1312.2), discrimination and harassment (BP/AR 5145.3), and sexual harassment (BP/AR 5145.7).
- Complaints Concerning District Employees. Complainants are encouraged to resolve complaints against school personnel through informal means by talking directly with the school person involved. If the complainant is unable or unwilling to resolve the complaint directly with the employee, a written complaint may be submitted to the employee’s immediate supervisor or the principal. The immediate supervisor, principal or designee shall attempt to resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the person involved within 30 days. Parties should accept and consider the resolution as final. However, any involved party may ask to address the Board regarding the complaint. (BP/AR 1312.1)
- Complaints Concerning Instructional Materials. Complainants shall first informally discuss the instructional content or materials in question with the principal. If the complainant is unsatisfied with the response, he or she may file a formal complaint with the principal. If the complainant disagrees with the principal’s formal decision, he or she may appeal the decision to the Superintendent, who may issue a decision or convene a review committee to investigate the complaint. If the complainant remains unsatisfied, he/she may appeal the Superintendent or review committee’s decision to the Board of Trustees. (BP/AR 1312.2)
- Complaints Regarding Discrimination and Harassment (Including Title IX Complaints). Any person who wishes to file a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment should first seek remedy through the office of the school’s principal. If the issue cannot be resolved at the level of the principal, a formal complaint may be filed with the District’s Title IX Compliance Officer, the Associate Superintendent for Personnel Services, Leyla Benson, in accordance with the Uniform Complaint Procedures – AR 1312.3, further detailed below. (BP/AR 5145.3; BP/AR 5145.7) Copies of the Uniform Complaint Procedures will be provided free of charge. If the complainant is unable to put a complaint in writing due to conditions such as illiteracy, language barriers, or other handicap, district staff shall help him/her to file the complaint.
After any complaint has been investigated and a report of findings have been issued in accordance with the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, if the complainant is dissatisfied with the District's decision, the complainant may file a written appeal with the School Board or the California Department of Education within 15 calendar days of receiving the District's decision. The complainant may also pursue remedies before civil courts or other public agencies, such as the Office for Civil Rights.
- FORM COMPLAINT PROCEDURES. The District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures (BP/AR 1312.3) address: alleged violations of federal or state laws or regulations governing educational programs (e.g., Adult Education, Consolidated Categorical Aid, Migrant Education, Career Technical and Technical Education and Training, Child Care and Development, Child Nutrition, and Special Education); the prohibition against requiring students to pay fees, deposits, or other charges for participating in educational activities, and; unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying. (5 Cal. Code Regs., § 4610.) Unless otherwise indicated in the section on specific complaints below, the following information is generally applicable to complaints submitted under the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures:
- Compliance Officer. The Associate Superintendent of Personnel Services, Leyla Benson, shall receive and investigate complaints submitted under the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures and insure District compliance with the law.
- Civil Law Remedies. A complainant may pursue available civil law remedies outside of the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures. Complainants may seek assistance from mediation centers or public/private interest attorneys. Civil law remedies that may be imposed by a court include, but are not limited to, injunctions and restraining orders. For complainants alleging discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on state law, a complainant shall wait until 60 calendar days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the California Department of Education before pursuing civil law remedies, provided the District has appropriately and in a timely manner apprised the complainant of his or her right to file a complaint in accordance with 5 CCR 4622. The moratorium does not apply to injunctive relief and to discrimination complaints based on federal law. (Ed. Code, § 262.3.)
- Appeal Process. Except for complaints submitted under the District’s Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures, a complainant may appeal a decision made under the Uniform Complaint Procedures to the California Department of Education by filing a written appeal within 15 days of receiving the decision. (5 Cal. Code Regs., § 4632.) The appeal to the California Department of Education must include a copy of the complaint filed with the District and a copy of the District’s decision.
- Complaint Review. The District has the primary responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs. The complaint review shall be completed within 60 calendar days from the date of receipt of the complaint unless the complainant agrees in writing to an extension of the timeline. A complaint alleging unlawful discrimination,
harassment, intimidation, or bullying must be filed not later than six months from the date it occurred, or six months from the date the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts. The District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures are available free of charge and are on the district’s website and district office.
- State Intervention. Complaints must usually be submitted to the District’s Compliance Officer; however, the California Department of Education may directly intervene without waiting for the District’s investigation if a complaint: (1) alleges that the District failed to comply with the complaint procedures; (2) relates to Child Development and Child Nutrition programs not administered by the District; (3) requests anonymity because the complainant would be in danger of retaliation and would suffer immediate and irreparable harm if the complaint were filed with the District; (4) alleges the District failed or refused to implement the final decision; (5) alleges the District took no action within sixty days regarding a complaint originally filed with the District; (6) the complainant would suffer immediate and irreparable harm as a result of a District policy that conflicts with state or federal law and that filing a complaint with the District would be futile; or, (7) relates to Special Education
and includes certain allegations. (5 Cal. Code Regs., §§ 4630 and 4650.)
- Specific Complaints. Complaints alleging non-compliance with specific state laws identified below may be submitted under the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures. If a complainant is not satisfied with the District’s decision, the complainant may appeal to the California Department of Education and will receive a written decision within 60 days.
- Pupil Fees. Students enrolled in the District shall not be required to pay a fee or charge, or make a deposit, as a condition for participation in District educational activities, unless authorized by law. (Ed. Code, §§ 49010-49013.) A complaint alleging the imposition of pupil fees for participation in educational activities may be filed with the Principal under the Uniform Complaint Procedures not later than one year from the date the alleged violation occurred. A complaint may be filed anonymously. (Ed. Code, § 49013; 5 Cal. Code Regs., § 4630.)
- Local Control Accountability Plan. School districts, charter schools and county offices of education are required to adopt and annually update their Local Control Accountability Plans (“LCAP”). A complaint alleging noncompliance with the LCAP may be filed anonymously. (Ed. Code, § 52075.)
- Students in Foster Care, Who are Homeless, or Are Former Juvenile Court School Pupils. State law outlines the rights afforded to students in foster care, who are homeless, or who are former juvenile court school pupils including, but not limited to, rights regarding a student’s school of origin, enrollment, credits, graduation, college, discipline, records, and/or certain noneducational rights. (Ed. Code, §§ 48853, 48853.5, 49069.5, 51225.1, 51225.2, 51225.3.) A notice summarizing the rights of foster youth is available online through the California Department of Education at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/pf/fy/documents/fosteryouthedrights.pdf.
- Enrollment of Students in Course without Educational Content or in Previously Completed Course. Except under certain circumstances, Education Code sections 51228.1 and 51228.2 prohibit students from being enrolled in course periods without educational content for more than one week in any semester and from being enrolled in a course which the student previously satisfactorily completed. (Ed. Code, §§ 51228.1, 51228.2, and 51228.3.)
- Lactation Accommodations for Parenting Students. School districts must provide reasonable accommodations to lactating students on school campuses to express breast milk, breastfeed an infant child, or address other needs related to breastfeeding. A student may not incur an academic penalty as a result of her use of reasonable lactation accommodations and must be provided an opportunity to make up any work missed due to such use. (Ed. Code, § 222(f).)
- WILLIAMS UNIFORM COMPLAINT PROCEDURES. The District’s Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures (AR 1312.4) address the sufficiency of textbooks and instructional materials, teacher vacancies or misassignments, and facilities. (5 Cal. Code Regs., §§ 4680 and 4681.) A copy of the Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures and Form can be obtained from a school office, the district office or online. The principal or designee of the Superintendent shall make all reasonable efforts to investigate complaints submitted under the District’s Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures. (Ed. Code § 35186(b); 5 Cal.
Code Regs., § 4680 et seq.) N
ON-DISCRIMINATION. State and federal law prohibit discrimination in education programs or activities.
- NON-DISCRIMINATION. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and state law prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex in federally financed education programs or activities. District programs shall be free from discrimination based on age, sex (sex discrimination includes discrimination against a student based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery from pregnancy or childbirth-related conditions, or denial of lactation accommodations for lactating students), gender (including a person’s gender identity and gender expression, which is a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with a person’s assigned sex at birth), race, color, religion (including agnosticism, atheism and all aspects of religious belief, observance and practice), ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, ethnic background, lack of English skills, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, genetic information, sexual orientation (including heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality) or the perception of one or more of such characteristics. Harassment, intimidation or bullying based upon these actual or perceived characteristics or on a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics is also prohibited. The Governing Board is committed to a workplace and educational environment that is free from discrimination and/or gender bias and shall promote programs which ensure that discriminatory practices are eliminated in all District activities. Any questions or concerns about noncompliance can be directed to the District’s Associate Superintendent of Personnel Services, Leyla Benson. Refer to the Uniform Complaint Procedures and Non-Discrimination/Harassment Policy for further information about non-discrimination complaints. (34 CFR §§ 100.6, 106.9 and 5 Cal. Code Regs., § 4610(c)).
- ACCESS TO PROGRAMS, ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES BASED ON GENDER IDENTITY. Students may access sex-segregated school programs, activities and facilities, including athletic teams, competitions and use facilities, consistent with their gender identity. The District endeavors to protect the rights and privacy of all students. Consequently, if a student or parent/guardian believes participation in or access to a sexsegregated school program, activity or facility with another student or students of the opposite biological sex would violate the student’s right to privacy or religious beliefs and/or practices, the student and/or guardian should notify the District’s compliance officer with any objection. The compliance officer will meet with the student and/or the parent/guardian who raises the objection to determine how to best accommodate the student. Absent written permission from a parent/guardian and/or student, state and federal laws prohibit the District from disclosing private student information such as gender identity.
- NON-DISCRIMINATION WITH RESPECT TO DISABLED INDIVIDUALS. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit discrimination against qualified disabled individuals in federally financed education programs or activities. The District does not discriminate in admission or access to its programs or activities. Please contact the District’s Associate Superintendent of Personnel Services, Leyla Benson, with any questions or concerns. (34 CFR § 104.8; 28 CFR § 35.106.)