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Escondido Union HSD  |  AR  1312.3  Community Relations

Uniform Complaint Procedures   

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Except as the Board of Education may otherwise specifically provide in other Board policies, the uniform complaint procedures shall be used only to investigate and resolve only the complaints specified in BP 1312.3.

(cf. 1312.1 - Complaints Concerning District Employees)

(cf. 1312.2 - Complaints Concerning Instructional Materials)

(cf. 1312.4 - Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures)

(cf. 4030 - Nondiscrimination in Employment)

The district's uniform complaint procedures policy and administrative regulation shall be posted in all district schools and offices, including staff lounges and student government meeting rooms. If 15 percent or more of students enrolled in a particular district school speak a single primary language other than English, the district's policy, regulation, forms, and notices concerning uniform complaint procedures shall be translated into that language. (Education Code 234.1, 48985)

Compliance Officers

The district designates the individual(s) identified below as the employee(s) responsible for coordinating the district's response to complaints and for complying with state and federal civil rights laws. The individual(s) also serve as the compliance officer(s) specified in AR 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment as the responsible employee(s) to handle complaints regarding unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying). The individual(s) shall receive and coordinate the investigation of complaints and shall ensure district compliance with law.

(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment)

(cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment)

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources

Escondido Union High School District

302 North Midway Drive

Escondido, CA 92027

(760) 291-3281

The compliance officer who receives a complaint may assign another compliance officer to investigate and resolve the complaint. The compliance officer shall promptly notify the complainant and respondent, if applicable, if another compliance officer is assigned to the complaint.

In no instance shall a compliance officer be assigned to a complaint in which he/she has a bias or conflict of interest that would prohibit him/her from fairly investigating or resolving the complaint. Any complaint against a compliance officer or that raises a concern about the compliance officer's ability to investigate the complaint fairly and without bias shall be filed with the Superintendent or designee who shall determine how the complaint will be investigated.

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that employees assigned to investigate and resolve complaints receive training and are knowledgeable about the laws and programs at issue in the complaints to which they are assigned. Training provided to such employees shall cover current state and federal laws and regulations governing the program, applicable processes for investigating and resolving complaints, including those alleging unlawful

(cf. 4331 - Staff Development)

(cf. 9124 - Attorney)

The compliance officer or, if necessary, any appropriate administrator shall determine whether interim measures are necessary during and pending the result of an investigation. If interim measures are determined to be necessary, the compliance officer or the administrator shall consult with the Superintendent, the Superintendent's designee, or, if appropriate, the site principal to implement one or more interim measures. The interim measures shall remain in place until the compliance officer determines that they are no longer necessary or until the district issues its final written decision, whichever occurs first.

Notifications

The district's UCP policy and administrative regulation shall be posted in all district schools and offices, including staff lounges and student government meeting rooms. (Education Code 234.1)

The Superintendent or designee shall annually provide written notification of the district's uniform complaint procedures to students, employees, parents/guardians of district students, district advisory committee members, school advisory committee members, appropriate private school officials or representatives, and other interested parties. The notification shall include information regarding the prohibition of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying; unlawful student fees; local control and accountability plan (LCAP) requirements; and requirements related to the educational rights of foster youth, homeless students, and former juvenile court school students, and children of military families (Education Code 262.3, 48853, 48853.5, 49010-49013, 49069.5, 51225.1, 51225.2, 52075; 5 CCR 4622)

(cf. 0420 - School Plans/Site Councils)

(cf. 0460 - Local Control and Accountability Plan)

(cf. 1220 - Citizen Advisory Committees)

(cf. 3260 - Fees and Charges)

(cf. 4112.9/4212.9/4312.9 - Employee Notifications)

(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)

(cf. 6173 - Education for Homeless Children)

(cf. 6173.1 - Education for Foster Youth)

(cf. 6173.2 - Education of Children of Military Families)

The notice shall:

1. Identify the person(s), position(s), or unit(s) responsible for receiving complaints

2. Advise the complainant of any civil law remedies that may be available to him/her under state or federal discrimination laws, if applicable

3. Advise the complainant of the appeal process, including, if applicable, the complainant's right to take a complaint directly to the California Department of Education (CDE) or to pursue remedies before civil courts or other public agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in cases involving unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying).

4. Include statements that:

a. The district is primarily responsible for compliance with state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs

b. 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.

c. A complaint alleging unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying must be filed no later than six months from the date the alleged discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying occurs, or six months from the date the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination harassment, intimidation, retaliation or bullying.

d. Complaints should be filed in writing and signed by the complainant. If a complainant is unable to put his/her complaint in writing, for example, due to conditions such as a disability or illiteracy, district staff shall assist him/her in the filing of the complaint.

e. If a complaint is not filed in writing but the district receives notice of any allegation that is subject to the UCP, the district shall take affirmative steps to investigate and address the allegations, in a manner appropriate to the particular circumstances.

If the allegation involves retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) and the investigation confirms that discrimination has occurred, the district will take steps to prevent recurrence of discrimination and correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant, and on others, if appropriate.

f. A foster youth shall receive information about educational rights related to his/her educational placement, enrollment in and checkout from school, as well as the responsibilities of the district liaison for foster youth to ensure and facilitate these requirements and to assist the student in ensuring proper transfer of his/her credits, records, and grades when he/she transfers between schools or between the district and another district.

g. A foster youth homeless student, former juvenile court school student, or child of a military family who transfers into a district high school or between district high schools as applicable shall be notified of the district's responsibility to:

(1) Accept any coursework or part of the coursework that the student has satisfactorily completed in another public school, juvenile court school, or a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, and to issue full or partial credit for the coursework completed

(2) Not require the student to retake any course or a portion of a course which he/she has satisfactorily completed in another public school, juvenile court school, or a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency

(3) If the student has completed his/her second year of high school before the transfer, provide the student information about district-adopted coursework and Board-imposed graduation requirements from which he/she may be exempted pursuant to Education Code 51225.1

h. The complainant has a right to appeal the district's decision to the CDE by filing a written appeal within 15 days of receiving the district's decision

In any complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the respondent also shall have the right to file an appeal with the CDE in the same manner as the complainant, if he/she is dissatisfied with the district's decision.

i. The appeal to the CDE must include a copy of the complaint filed with the district and a copy of the district's decision

j. Copies of the district's uniform complaint procedures are available free of charge.

Procedures

The following procedures shall be used to address all complaints which allege that the district has violated federal or state laws or regulations governing educational programs. Compliance officers shall maintain a record of each complaint and subsequent related actions, 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 hearing is scheduled, and when a decision or ruling is made. However, the compliance officer shall keep all complaints or allegations of retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) confidential except when disclosure is necessary to carry out the investigation, take subsequent corrective action, conduct ongoing monitoring, or maintain the integrity of the process. (5 CCR 4630, 4964)

Step 1: Filing of Complaint

Any individual, public agency or organization may file a written complaint of alleged noncompliance by the district. (5 CCR 4630)

The complaint shall be presented to the Superintendent or designee, who will then give it to the appropriate compliance officer. The Superintendent or designee will maintain a log of complaints received, providing each with a code number and a date stamp.

If a complainant is unable to put a complaint in writing due to conditions such as illiteracy or other handicaps, district staff shall help him/her to file the complaint. (5 CCR 4600)

The complaint must be initiated no later than six months from the date when the alleged discrimination occurred or six months from the date when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination. However, upon written request by the complainant, the Superintendent or designee may extend the filing period for up to 90 days. (5 CCR 4630)

A complaint alleging unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying may be filed only by a person who alleges that he/she personally suffered unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying or by a person who believes that an individual or any specific class of individuals has been subjected to it. The complaint shall be initiated no later than six months from the date when the alleged discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying occurred, or six months from the date when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying. However, upon written request by the complainant, the Superintendent or designee may extend the filing period for up to 90 days. (5 CCR 4630)

A complaint alleging district violation of applicable state or federal law or regulations governing adult education programs, consolidated categorical aid programs, migrant education, career technical and technical education and training programs, child care and development programs, child nutrition programs, and special education programs may be filed by any individual, public agency, or organization. (5 CCR 4630)

A complaint alleging noncompliance with the law regarding the prohibition against requiring students to pay student fees, deposits, and charges or any requirement related to the LCAP may be filed anonymously if the complaint provides evidence or information leading to evidence to support an allegation of noncompliance. (Education Code 49013)

When a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) is filed anonymously, the compliance officer shall pursue an investigation or other response as appropriate, depending on the specificity and reliability of the information provided and the seriousness of the allegation.

When the complainant of unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) or the alleged victim, when he/she is not the complainant, requests confidentiality, the compliance officer shall inform him/her that the request may limit the district's ability to investigate the conduct or take other necessary action. When honoring a request for confidentiality, the district shall nevertheless take all reasonable steps to investigate and resolve/respond to the complaint consistent with the request.

The complaint shall be presented to the compliance officer who shall maintain a log of complaints received, providing each with a code number and a date stamp.

If a complainant is unable to put a complaint in writing due to conditions such as a disability or illiteracy, district staff shall assist him/her in the filing of the complaint. (5 CCR 4600)

Step 2: Mediation

Within three business days of receiving the complaint, the compliance officer may informally discuss with the complainant the possibility of using mediation. If the complainant agrees to mediation, the compliance officer shall make all arrangements for this process.

Before initiating the mediation of a discrimination complaint alleging retaliation or discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, the compliance officer shall ensure that all parties agree to make the mediator a party to related confidential information.

If the mediation process does not resolve the problem within the parameters of law, the compliance officer 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

The compliance officer is encouraged to hold an investigative meeting within ten calendar days of receiving the complaint or an unsuccessful attempt to mediate the complaint. This meeting shall provide an opportunity for the complainant and/or his/her representative to repeat the complaint orally.

The complainant and/or his/her representative and the district's representatives shall also have an opportunity to present information relevant to the complaint. Parties to the dispute may discuss the complaint and question each other or each other's witnesses. (5 CCR 4631)

To ensure that all pertinent facts are made available, the compliance officer and the complainant may ask other individuals to attend this meeting and provide additional information.

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 district's investigator with documents or other evidence related to the allegations in the complaint, or 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)

Similarly, a respondent's refusal to provide the district's investigator with access to records and/or other information related to the allegation in the complaint, or failure or refusal to cooperate in the investigation or 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)

In accordance with law, the district shall provide the investigator with access to records and other information related to the allegation in the complaint and shall not in any way obstruct the investigation. Failure or refusal of the district to cooperate in the investigation may result in a finding based on evidence collected that a violation has occurred and in the imposition of a remedy in favor of the complainant. (5 CCR 4631)

Step 4: Response

Unless extended by written agreement with the complainant, a final decision 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 "Final Written Decision" below. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the compliance officer's decision, he/she may, within five business days, file his/her 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)

In resolving any complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying), the respondent also shall be sent the district's decision and, in the same manner as the complainant, may file a complaint with the Board if dissatisfied with the decision.

Step 5: Final Written Decision

The district's decision on how it will resolve the complaint shall be in writing and shall be sent to the complainant and respondent. (5 CCR 4631)

In consultation with district legal counsel, information about the relevant part of a decision may be communicated to a victim who is not the complainant and to other parties who may be involved in implementing the decision or are affected by the complaint, as long as the privacy of the parties is protected. In a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying), notice of the district's decision to the alleged victim shall include information about any sanction to be imposed upon the respondent that relates directly to the alleged victim.

If the complaint involves a limited-English-proficient student or parent/guardian and the student involved attends a school at which 15 percent or more of the students speak a single primary language other than English, then the decision shall also be translated into that language. In all other instances, the district shall ensure meaningful access to all relevant information for parents/guardians with limited English proficiency.

For all complaints, the decision shall include: (5 CCR 4631)

1. The findings of fact based on the evidence gathered. In reaching a factual determination, the following factors may be taken into account:

a. Statements made by any witnesses

b. The relative credibility of the individuals involved

c. How the complaining individual reacted to the incident

d. Any documentary or other evidence relating to the alleged conduct

e. Past instances of similar conduct by any alleged offenders

f. Past false allegations made by the complainant

2. The conclusion(s) of law

3. Disposition of the complaint

4. Rationale for such disposition

For complaints of retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the disposition of the complaint shall include a determination for each allegation as to whether retaliation or unlawful discrimination has occurred.

The determination of whether a hostile environment exists may involve consideration of the following:

a. The manner in which the misconduct affected one or more students' education

b. The type, frequency, and duration of the misconduct

c. The relationship between the alleged victim(s) and offender(s)

d. The number of persons engaged in the conduct and at whom the conduct was directed

e. The size of the school, location of the incidents, and context in which they occurred

f. Other incidents at the school involving different individuals

5. Corrective action(s), including any actions that have been taken or will be taken to address the allegations in the complaint and including, with respect to a student fees complaint, a remedy that comports with Education Code 49013 and 5 CCR 4600

For complaints of unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the decision may, as required by law, include:

a. The corrective actions imposed on the respondent

b. Individual remedies offered or provided to the complainant or another person who was the subject of the complaint, but this information should not be shared with the respondent.

c. Systemic measures the school has taken to eliminate a hostile environment and prevent recurrence

6. Notice of the complainant's and respondent's right to appeal the district's decision to the CDE within 15 calendar days, and procedures to be followed for initiating such an appeal

The decision may also include follow-up procedures to prevent recurrence or retaliation and for reporting any subsequent problems.

For complaints alleging unlawful discrimination based on state law (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying), the decision shall also include a notice to the complainant that:

1. He/she may pursue available civil law remedies outside of the district's complaint procedures, including seeking assistance from mediation centers or public/private interest attorneys, 60 calendar days after the filing of an appeal with the CDE. (Education Code 262.3)

2. The 60 days moratorium does not apply to complaints seeking injunctive relief in state courts or to discrimination complaints based on federal law. (Education Code 262.3)

3. Complaints alleging discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender, disability, or age may also be filed with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights at www.ed.gov/ocr within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.

Corrective Actions

When a complaint is found to have merit, the compliance officer shall adopt any appropriate corrective action permitted by law. Appropriate corrective actions that focus on the larger school or district environment may include, but are not limited to, actions to reinforce district policies; training for faculty, staff, and students; updates to school policies; or school climate surveys.

For complaints involving retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), appropriate remedies that may be offered to the victim but not communicated to the respondent may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Counseling

2. Academic support

3. Health services

4. Assignment of an escort to allow the victim to move safely about campus

5. Information regarding available resources and how to report similar incidents or retaliation

6. Separation of the victim from any other individuals involved, provided the separation does not penalize the victim

7. Restorative justice

8. Follow-up inquiries to ensure that the conduct has stopped and there has been no retaliation

9. Determination of whether any past actions of the victim that resulted in discipline were related to the treatment the victim received and described in the complaint

For complaints involving retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), appropriate corrective actions that focus on a student offender may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Transfer from a class or school as permitted by law

2. Parent/guardian conference

3. Education regarding the impact of the conduct on others

4. Positive behavior support

5. Referral to a student success team

6. Denial of participation in extracurricular or co-curricular activities or other privileges as permitted by law

7. Disciplinary action, such as suspension or expulsion, as permitted by law

When an employee is found to have committed retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the district shall take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, in accordance with applicable law and collective bargaining agreement.

The district may also consider training and other interventions for the larger school community to ensure that students, staff, and parents/guardians understand the types of behavior that constitute unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), that the district does not tolerate it, and how to report and respond to it.

When a complaint is found to have merit, an appropriate remedy shall be provided to the complainant or other affected person.

If a complaint alleging noncompliance with the laws regarding student fees, deposits, and other charges, physical education instructional minutes for students in elementary schools, or any requirement related to the LCAP is found to have merit, the district shall provide a remedy to all affected students and parents/guardians subject to procedures established by regulation of the State Board of Education. (Education Code 49013, 51223, 52075)

For complaints alleging noncompliance with the laws regarding student fees, the district shall attempt in good faith, by engaging in reasonable efforts, to identify and fully reimburse all affected students and parents/guardians who paid the unlawful student fees within one year prior to the filing of the complaint. (Education Code 49013; 5 CCR 4600)

Appeals to the California Department of Education

If dissatisfied with the district's final written decision of a complaint regarding any specified federal or state educational program subject to the Uniform Complaint Process, the complainant or respondent may file an appeal in writing with CDE within 15 calendar days of receiving the district's decision (Education Code 222, 48853, 48853.5, 49013, 49069.5, 51223, 51225.1, 51225.2, 51228.3, 52075; 5 CCR 4632). When appealing to the CDE, the complainant or respondent must specify the basis for the appeal of the decision and how the facts of the district's decision are incorrect and/or the law has been misapplied. The appeal shall be sent to the CDE with a copy of the original locally filed complaint and a copy of the district's decision in that complaint. (5 CCR 4632)

Upon notification by the CDE that the complainant or respondent has appealed the district's decision, the Superintendent or designee shall forward the following documents to the CDE: (5 CCR 4633)

1. A copy of the original complaint

2. A copy of the written 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 investigator

5. A report of any action taken to resolve the complaint

6. A copy of the district's uniform complaint procedures

7. Other relevant information requested by 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 calendar days of the date the complaint was filed with the district.

Regulation ESCONDIDO UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

approved: November 13, 2007 Escondido, California

revised: January 18, 2011

revised: January 15, 2013

revised: May 21, 2013

revised: February 11, 2014

revised: May 17, 2016

revised: December 13, 2016

revised: August 7, 2018