UNIFORM COMPLAINT POLICY

ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION - 1312.3

The following procedures shall be used to address all complaints appropriately brought pursuant to the District's Uniform Complaint Policy, BP 1312.3. The District's Compliance Officer shall maintain a record/log of each complaint and the corresponding District Decision, including all information required for compliance with 5 CCR §4631 and §4633.

All parties involved in allegations shall be notified when a complaint is filed, when a complaint meeting or mediation is scheduled, and when a decision or ruling is made.

Step 1: Filing of Complaint
Who:

Any individual, public agency, or organization may file a complaint of alleged noncompliance by the district related to any of the programs or reasons delineated in BP 1312.3. (5 CCR 4630)

Complaints pursuant to the District's Uniform Complaint Policy may not be anonymous, must be in writing, and must be signed by the complainant. If a complainant makes a verbal complaint to any District administrator or teacher relating to issues described in Board Policy 1312.3, that administrator or teacher must refer the complainant to Board Policy, Administrative Regulation and Form 1312.3 and specifically inform them of their responsibility to reduce the complaint to writing. Complainants who make verbal complaints made to any other District staff members shall be directed to discuss their concerns with the site principal or another appropriate administrator.

Complainants may use Form 1312.3, but are not required to do so.  If a complainant states to District staff that he or she is unable to reduce his/her complaint to writing due to conditions including but not limited to disability or illiteracy, District staff shall assist him/her in reducing his/her verbal complaint to writing.  (5 CCR 4600)   However, if the complainant is capable of, but refuses to or  neglects to put his/her complaint in writing, the District is not obligated to conduct an investigation or offer mediation pursuant to the Uniform Complaint Policy and Administrative Regulation.

Written complaints filed with any District staff other than the Compliance Officer must be forwarded to the Compliance Officer immediately, but in no case later than five (5) business* days.  The Compliance Officer may then verbally, or in writing, appoint a designee to conduct the investigation and prepare the District's Decision.

Timing:
a)  Unlawful Discrimination

A complaint brought pursuant to Board Policy 1312.3, Section I, Paragraph A, alleging unlawful discrimination on the basis of a protected class, as delineated in Board Policy 1312.3, shall be filed with the Compliance Officer no later than six (6) months from the date when the alleged discrimination occurred, or six (6) months from the date when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination.  The timeline set forth above may be extended for no more than an additional ninety (90) days, but only upon written request by the Complainant setting forth good cause for the delay, and only upon approval by the District's Superintendent or designee.  Any such request received by the District's Superintendent shall be approved or denied within fifteen (15) business days of its receipt. The Superintendent's or designee’s decision with respect to an extension is final.

b)  Other Complaints Delineated In BP 1312.3
A complaint brought pursuant to Board Policy 1312.3, Section I, Paragraph B (adult education programs, consolidated categorical aid programs, migrant education, career technical and technical education and career technical and technical training programs, child care and development programs, child nutrition programs, and special education programs) shall be filed with the Compliance Officer within six (6) months from the date when the alleged failure to comply or alleged incident occurred. The timeline set forth above may be extended for no more than an additional ninety (90) days, but only upon written request by the Complainant setting forth good cause for the delay, and only upon approval by the District's Superintendent or designee.  Any such request received by the District's Superintendent shall be approved or denied within fifteen (15) business days of its receipt. The Superintendent's decision with respect to an extension is final.

c)  Notice
If a complaint is untimely filed, the Compliance Officer or his/her designee will notify the Complainant within fifteen (15) business days of receipt of the untimely filing. Such notice will inform the Complainant of his/her right to request, in writing, an extension of the timelines directly from the District's Superintendent.

Step 2: Voluntary Mediation
Within fifteen (15) business days of receiving the complaint, the Compliance Officer or his/her designee may, but is not required to, informally discuss with the complainant the possibility of using mediation. If the complainant 1) agrees to mediation and 2) agrees to make the mediator a party to related confidential information, the Compliance Officer or his/her designee shall make all arrangements for this process, including choosing a mediator. The Compliance Officer or his/her designee shall give at least five (5) business days notice to the Complainant prior to any scheduled mediation.

The mediator may or may not be a District employee; however, in no case shall the Compliance Officer or his/her designee also serve as the mediator.

If the mediation process does not resolve the problem within the parameters of state and federal law, the Compliance Officer or his/her designee shall proceed with his/her 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. (5 CCR 4631)

Step 3: Investigation of Complaint
If the Complainant does not agree to engage in mediation, the Compliance Officer or his/her designee is encouraged to hold an investigative meeting within fifteen (15) business days of the Compliance Officer receiving the complaint.  Alternatively, if Complainant and the District do engage in mediation, but it proves unsuccessful, the mediation shall serve as the investigative meeting and the mediator shall share his/her notes of the mediation with the Compliance Officer.  

The investigative meeting shall provide an opportunity for the Complainant and/or his/her representative to repeat the complaint orally and provide any additional factual support for his/her allegations, including any relevant documentation not already provided. The Complainant and/or his/her representative shall have an opportunity to present the complaint and evidence or information leading to evidence to support the allegations in the complaint. (5 CCR 4631)

A Complainant's refusal to provide the Compliance Officer or his/her designee with documents or other evidence related to the allegations in the complaint; his/her failure or refusal to cooperate in the investigation; or his/her engagement in any other obstruction of the investigation, may result in the dismissal of the complaint because of a lack of evidence to support the allegation. (5 CCR 4631)

Any District employee's refusal to provide the Compliance Officer or his/her designee with access to records and/or other information related to the allegation in the complaint, or its failure or refusal to cooperate in the investigation or its engagement in any other obstruction of the investigation, may result in a finding, based on evidence collected, that a violation has occurred and may result in the imposition of a remedy in favor of the Complainant. (5 CCR 4631)

Step 4: District Decision
Unless extended by written agreement of the Complainant, the Compliance Officer or his/her designee shall prepare and send to the Complainant and all other involved parties, the District's Decision, as described below, within sixty (60) calendar days of the Compliance Officer's receipt of the complaint. (5 CCR 4631)

The District's Decision shall be written in English and in the primary language of the Complainant whenever feasible and if requested by Complainant.   

The decision shall include:

  1. The findings of fact based on the evidence gathered (5 CCR 4631);
  2. The conclusion(s) of law (5 CCR 4631);
  3. Disposition of the complaint (5 CCR 4631);
  4. Rationale for such disposition (5 CCR 4631);
  5. Corrective actions, if any are warranted (5 CCR 4631);
  6. Notice of the complainant's right to appeal to the California Department of Education ("CDE") and procedures to be followed for initiating such an appeal within fifteen (15) calendar days of Complainant's receipt of the District's Decision.  (5 CCR 4631)
  7. For unlawful discrimination complaints, notice that the complainant must wait until 60 days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the CDE before pursuing civil law remedies. (Education Code 262.3)

If an employee or student is disciplined as a result of the complaint, the decision shall simply state that effective action was taken and that the employee and/or student was informed of District expectations. The report shall not give any further information as to the nature of the disciplinary action.

The District's Decision shall constitute a final decision, and is not appealable to the Board of Education or any other District administrator. It is appealable only to the California Department of Education, as described below.

Appeals to the California Department of Education
If dissatisfied with the District's decision, the Complainant may appeal in writing to the CDE within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving the District's decision. When appealing to the CDE, the complainant must specify the basis for the appeal of the decision and whether the facts are incorrect and/or the law has been misapplied. The appeal shall be accompanied by a copy of the locally filed complaint and a copy of the District's decision. (5 CCR 4632)

Upon notification by the CDE that the complainant has appealed the District's decision, the Compliance Officer or his/her designee shall forward the following documents to the CDE: (5 CCR 4633)

  1. A copy of the original complaint;
  2. A copy of the Decision;
  3. A summary of the nature and extent of the investigation conducted by the district, if not covered by the Decision;
  4. A copy of the investigation file, including but not limited to all notes, interviews, and documents submitted by the parties and gathered by the Compliance Officer or his/her designee;
  5. A report of any action taken to resolve the complaint;
  6. A copy of the district's complaint procedures;
  7. Other relevant information requested by the CDE.

The CDE may directly intervene in the complaint without waiting for action by the District when one of the conditions listed in 5 CCR 4650 exists, including cases in which the District has not taken action within 60 (sixty) calendar days of the date the complaint was filed with the District.

Civil Law Remedies
A complainant may pursue available civil law remedies outside of the District's 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 discrimination complaints, however, a complainant must wait until 60 (sixty) calendar days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the CDE 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 in accordance with 5 CCR 4622.

*For purposes of Administrative Regulation 1312.3, a "business day" is defined as any day that the District's administrative offices are open.

December 6, 2011
September 11, 2018