Southern Humboldt USD | AR 1312.3 Community Relations
Uniform Complaint Procedures
The following compliance officer(s) shall receive and investigate complaints and shall ensure district compliance with law:
P.O. Box 650
Miranda, CA 95553
The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that employees designated to investigate complaints are knowledgeable about the laws and programs for which they are responsible. Designated employees may have access to legal counsel as determined by the Superintendent or designee.
(cf. 9124 - Attorney)
The Superintendent or designee shall annually provide written notification of the district's uniform complaint procedures to students, employees, parents/guardians, the district advisory committee, school advisory committees, appropriate private school officials or representatives, and other interested parties. (Education Code 262.3, 49013; 5 CCR 4622)
(cf. 0420 - School Plans/Site Councils)
(cf. 1220 - Citizen Advisory Committees)
(cf. 3260 - Fees and Charges)
(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)
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
4. Include statements that:
a. The district has the primary responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable 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 not later than six months from the date it occurred, or six months from the date the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
d. The complainant has a right to appeal the district's decision to the CDE by filing a written appeal within 15 calendar days of receiving the district's decision.
e. The appeal to the CDE must include a copy of the complaint filed with the district and a copy of the district's decision.
f. Copies of the district's uniform complaint procedures are available free of charge.
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 or has committed unlawful discrimination.
All complaints shall be investigated and resolved within 60 calendar days of the district's receipt of the complaint. (5 CCR 4631)
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.
Step 1: Filing of Complaint
Any individual, public agency, or organization may file a written complaint of the district's alleged noncompliance with federal or state laws or regulations governing educational programs. (5 CCR 4630)
A complaint concerning unlawful discrimination may be filed only by a person who alleges that he/she personally suffered unlawful discrimination. The complaint shall 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 calendar days. (5 CCR 4630)
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: Investigation of Complaint
Within 10 calendar days of receiving the complaint, the compliance officer shall provide the complainant and/or his/her representative an opportunity to present the complaint and any evidence, or information leading to evidence, to support the allegations in the complaint. The compliance officer also shall collect all documents and interview all witnesses with information pertinent to the complaint.
A complainant's refusal to provide the district's investigator with documents or other evidence related to the allegations in the complaint, failure or refusal to cooperate in the investigation, or 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)
In accordance with law, the district shall provide the investigator with access to records and other information related to the allegation in the complaint. (5 CCR 4631)
Step 3: Response
Within 30 calendar days of receiving the complaint, the compliance officer shall prepare and send to the complainant a written report of the district's investigation and decision, as described in Step #4 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. 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)
Step 4: Final Written Decision
The district's decision shall be in writing and sent to the complainant. (5 CCR 4631)
The district's decision shall be written in English and, when required by Education Code 48985, in the complainant's primary language.
For all complaints, the decision shall include: (5 CCR 4631)
1. The findings of fact based on the evidence gathered
2. The conclusion(s) of law
3. Disposition of the complaint
4. Rationale for such disposition
5. Corrective actions, if any are warranted
6. Notice of the complainant's right to appeal the district's decision within 15 calendar days to the CDE and procedures to be followed for initiating such an appeal
In addition, any decision concerning a discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying complaint based on state law shall include a notice that the complainant must wait until 60 calendar days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the CDE before pursuing civil law remedies. (Education Code 262.3)
If investigation of a complaint results in discipline to a student or an employee, the decision shall simply state that effective action was taken and that the student or employee was informed of district expectations. The report shall not give any further information as to the nature of the disciplinary action.
Appeals to the California Department of Education
If dissatisfied with the district's decision, the complainant may appeal in writing to the CDE within 15 days of receiving the district's decision. When appealing to the CDE, the complainant shall 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 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 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 the CDE
The CDE may directly intervene in a complaint without waiting for action by the district when one of the conditions listed in 5 CCR 4650 exists, including when the district has not taken action within 60 calendar days of the date the complaint was filed with the district. (5 CCR 4650)
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 based on state law, a complainant shall wait until 60 calendar days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the CDE before pursuing civil law remedies, provided 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. The moratorium does not apply to injunctive relief and to discrimination complaints based on federal law. (Education Code 262.3)
Regulation SOUTHERN HUMBOLDT JOINT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
approved: March 14, 2013 Miranda, California