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Public Notice
1000 Series - Governing Policies » 1740/4010 Student and Parent Grievance Procedures

1740/4010 Student and Parent Grievance Procedures

It is the policy of the Wilkes County Board of Education that each student, regardless of age, race, sex, religion, color, creed, national origin, or handicapping condition, shall have the right to present for resolution all complaints or problems arising from the student role and shall be encouraged to do so without fear of recrimination.
 
The Board of Education requires that every effort should be made to insure that each student shall receive fair and impartial treatment. To that end, the Board hereby adopts grievance procedures that are intended to facilitate the handling of all student/teacher/principal complaints and resolution of problems.
 
In this policy and accompanying regulations, the word student is meant to include the parents of that student.
 
 
A. OPTIONS FOR RESOLVING COMPLAINTS
 
The Wilkes County Board of Education strives to resolve concerns and complaints whenever possible. To this end, the Board of Education has provided opportunities for students and parents to express their concerns through processes established in Board of Education policies. Board of Education policy 1742/5060, Responding to Complaints, identifies these different processes and provides a mechanism for resolving complaints in an informal manner.
 
While the Board of Education encourages informal resolutions, the Board of Education recognizes that students and parents may want a more formal process for certain types of complaints or if an informal process was not satisfactory. This policy provides a complaint procedure that can be used as described below.
 
Any parent or student who is unclear of the options for proceeding with a concern may contact the principal’s office or the superintendent’s office for further information and copies of all applicable Board of Education policies.
 
 
B. DEFINITIONS
 
Days: The working days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, vacation days or holidays, as set forth in the school calendar. In counting days, the first day will be the first full working day following the receipt of the grievance. After May 1, time limits will consist of all weekdays (Monday - Friday) so that the matter may be resolved before the close of the school term or as soon thereafter as possible.
 
Grievance: a formal complaint regarding specific decisions made or actions conducted by school personnel. A grievance may be submitted in specific circumstances such as when a student or parent believes that Board of Education policy or law has been misapplied, misinterpreted or violated. Any claims of discrimination on any prohibited basis also may be submitted as a grievance. 
 
Grievant: the parent or student or group of parents or students submitting the grievance. Official: the school district personnel hearing and responding to the grievant.
 
 
C. TIMELINESS OF PROCESS
 
The number of days indicated at each level should be considered a maximum and every effort should be made to expedite the process.
 
Failure by the official at any step to communicate a decision within the specified time limit will permit the grievant to appeal the grievance to the next step unless the official has notified the grievant of the delay and the reason for the delay, such as the complexity of the investigation or report. The official will make reasonable efforts to keep the grievant apprised of progress being made during any period of delay. Delays are not permitted that interfere with the exercise of any legal rights.
 
Failure by the grievant at any step to appeal a grievance to the next step within the specified time limit will be considered acceptance of the decision at that step unless the grievant has notified the official of a delay and the reason for the delay, and the official has consented in writing to the delay.
 
 
D. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
 
1. No reprisals of any kind will be taken by the Board of Education or by an employee of the school district against any grievant or other student or employee on account of his or her participation in a grievance filed and decided pursuant to this policy.
 
2. All meetings and hearings conducted pursuant to this policy will be private and confidential.
 
3. The Board of Education and school district will consider requests to hear grievances from a group of grievants, but the Board of Education and officials have the discretion to respond to individual grievants.
 
4. The grievant may be represented by legal counsel at the grievant’s expense at any hearing before the Board of Education.
 
 
E. PROCESS FOR GRIEVANCE REPORTING GRIEVANCE
 
1. A grievance must be filed as soon as possible but no longer than 30 days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the grievance. For a grievance submitted after 30 days which claims a violation, misapplication or misinterpretation of state or federal law, including discrimination, the superintendent or designee will determine whether the grievance will be investigated after considering factors such as the reason for the delay, the extent of the delay, the effect of the delay on the ability of the school district to investigate and respond to the complaint; and whether the investigation of the complaint is necessary to meet any legal obligations. However, students and parents should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of the school district to investigate and respond effectively to such complaints.
 
2. A student who has a grievance must provide the following information in writing to the principal: (1) the name of the school district employee or other individual whose decision or action is at issue; (2) the specific decision(s) or actions at issue; (3) any Board of Education policy or law that the parent or student believes has been misapplied, misinterpreted or violated; (4) and the specific resolution desired. If there is not a specific decision at issue and no concern that state or federal law has been misapplied, misinterpreted or violated, then the procedure established in Board of Education policy 1742/5060, Responding to Complaints, is appropriate, and the principal will address the concern following that Board of Education policy.
 
3. Even if the principal is the employee whose decision or action is at issue, the student will submit the grievance first to the principal in order for the principal to address the issue within the formal process. If, however, the grievance claims that a state or federal law has been misapplied, misinterpreted or violated, the student may submit the grievance directly to the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee.
 
INVESTIGATION
 
1. The principal will schedule and hold a meeting with the student within five school days of receiving the request. The student has the right to be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other person who is in a position of loco parentis to the student.
 
2. The principal will conduct any investigation of the facts necessary before rendering a decision.
 
RESPONSE BY PRINCIPAL
 
1. The principal will provide a written response to the written grievance within ten days of the meeting. The response will include the principal’s decision regarding resolution of the grievance and the basis for the decision. In responding, the principal cannot disclose information about other students or employees that by law is considered confidential. 
 
2. A copy of the grievance and the principal’s response will be filed with the superintendent.
 
RESPONSE BY SUPERINTENDENT/DESIGNEE
 
1. If the grievant is dissatisfied with the principal’s decision, the grievant may appeal the decision to the superintendent. The appeal must be made in writing within five days of receiving the principal’s decision.
 
2. The superintendent/designee may review the written documents and respond, or the superintendent may schedule and hold a conference with the grievant and principal and any other individuals the superintendent/designee determines to be appropriate within five school days after receiving the appeal. The student may be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other person who is in a position of loco parentis to the student.
 
3. The superintendent/designee will provide a written response within 10 days after receiving the appeal. In responding, the superintendent/designee cannot disclose information about other students or employees that by law is considered confidential.
 
RESPONSE BY BOARD
 
1. If the grievant is dissatisfied with the superintendent’s response, the grievant may appeal the decision to the Board of Education within five days of receiving the superintendent’s response.
 
2. A hearing will be conducted pursuant to Board of Education policy 2500, Hearings Before the Board of Education.
 
3. The Board of Education will provide a final written decision within 30 days of receiving the appeal unless further investigation is necessary or the hearing necessitates that more time be taken to respond.
 
 
F. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF SEX
 
Sexual harassment complaint procedures are established in Board of Education policy 1745. For other complaints of discrimination on the basis of sex, if the grievant is dissatisfied with the principal’s written response, the grievance may be appealed to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will review the written documents and may conduct any factual inquiry and hold a conference as necessary to make a determination of whether there was discrimination on the basis of sex. The Title IX Coordinator will provide a written response within 10 days of receiving the grievance unless additional time is necessary to complete any investigation. If the corrective steps involve actions outside the scope of the Title IX Coordinator’s responsibilities, the superintendent or designee also will be notified so that responsibility for the corrective steps can be delegated to the appropriate individual. If still not satisfied, the student may appeal the Title IX Coordinator’s response to the superintendent and Board of Education as provided in this policy. (See also policy 1710 as it relates to the Title IX Coordinator.)
 
DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY
 
If the student alleged discrimination on the basis of a handicapping condition or disability and the student is dissatisfied with the principal’s written response, the grievance may then be appealed to the Section 504/Americans With Disabilities Act (504/ADA) Coordinator. The 504/ADA Coordinator will review the written documents and may conduct any factual inquiry and hold a conference as necessary to make a determination of whether there was discrimination on the basis of disability. The 504/ADA Coordinator will provide a written response within 10 days of receiving the grievance unless additional time is necessary to complete any investigation. If the corrective steps involve actions outside the scope of the 504/ADA Coordinator’s responsibilities, the superintendent or designee also will be notified so that responsibility for the corrective steps can be delegated to the appropriate individual. If still not satisfied, the student may appeal the 504/ADA Coordinator’s response to the superintendent and Board of Education as provided in this policy. (See also policy 1710 as it relates to the 504/ADA Coordinator.)
 
APPEAL OF SUPERINTENDENT’S DECISION
 
If a student wants to initiate a formal grievance in regard to a certain decision made by the superintendent that directly and specifically affects the student, the general process described in this policy will be used except the grievance will be submitted directly to the superintendent.
 
 
G. RECORDS
 
Records of discrimination complaints will be maintained as required by 1710.  
 
 
 
Legal Reference: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., 34 C.F.R. pt. 100; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., 34 C.F.R. pt. 106; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's "Final Amended Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex"; Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.; The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 706(8), 794, 34 C.F.R. pt. 104; The Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12134, 28 C.F.R. pt. 35; Office of Civil Rights, Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Students or Third Parties, 62 Fed. Reg. 12,034 (1997); Office of Civil Rights, Racial Incidents and Harassment Against Students at Educational Institutions; Investigative Guidance, 59 Fed. Reg. 11,448 (1994); G.S. 126-16, 150B-43 et seq.
Cross Reference: Prohibition Against Discrimination and Harassment (policy 1710), Harassment Defined (policy 1735), Sexual Harassment Defined (policy 1736), Responding to Complaints (Board of Education policy 1742/5060), Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure for Students (policy 1745), Hearings Before the Board of Education (policy 2500)
Adopted: January 9, 2006
 

 
GRIEVANCE REPORT FORM
 
This form is to be completed in triplicate at all stages. When the problem is settled, one copy will be retained by the student, one copy will be given to the person against whom the grievance is filed, and one must be placed in the school grievance file.
 
STEP ONE
Student’s Name
Grade
School
 
Section A:
 
STUDENTS GRIEVANCE (time limit for completion – five (5) days from day reported to principal)
 
Date(s) grievance occurred: Grievance(describe the condition needing attention):
Have you tried to discuss this with your principal?
When?
What resulted?
What do you think should be done to correct the condition?
 
Signature of Student
 
Date form submitted to principal
 
Section B:
 
DECISION OF PRINCIPAL (time limit for completion – five(5) days from meeting)
Summary of Meeting:
Time Held:
Persons Attending:
Facts discussed:
Conclusion:
Action to be taken to change the condition, why, when, and by whom:
Reason change is not justified:
 
Signature of Student
 
Date form returned to the principal
 
Section C: DECISION OF STUDENT
Check one of the following three(3) Choices (time limit for completion – five (5) days after receipt of principal’s Decision)
 
I think that my Principal’s plan will satisfactorily correct the condition
 
I agree with my principal that no further action should be taken
 
I disagree with my principal and wish to pursue
 
STEP TWO
 
Signature of Student
Date form returned to principal
 
STUDENT GRIEVANCE REPORT FORM
 
STEP TWO
Student’s Name
Grade
School
 
REQUEST FOR CONFERENCE WITH SUPERINTENDENT (time limit for completion – five (5) days after receipt of principal’s decision)
 
Brief statement of condition reported as needing attention:
What change, if any has taken place in this area since reported?
Present status of condition – improved, worsened?
What do you think should be done to correct this condition?
 
Signature of Student
 
Date form submitted to Superintendent
 
DECISION OF SUPERINTENDENT (time limit for completion – five (5) days after day of Conference)
 
Summary of conference:
Time Held:
Person attending other than superintendent and student, if any:
Facts Discussed: 
Conclusion:
Action to be taken to change the condition, why, when, and by whom:
Reason Change is not Justified:
 
Signature of Superintendent
Date copy of form Returned to Student 
 
STUDENT GRIEVANCE REPORT FORM
 
STEP THREE
Student’s Name
Grade
School
 
REQUEST FOR HEARING BY BOARD OF EDUCATION
Describe the condition which you think needs attention:
What do you think should be done to correct the condition?
Signature of Student
Date form submitted to Chairman
 
DECISION OF BOARD OF EDUCATION (time limit for completion – five (5) days after day of hearing)
Findings of Hearing:
Action to be taken to change the condition, why, when, and by whom:
Reason change is not justified:
 
Signature of Person Preparing this Report
Date copies returned to Superintendent and Student 
 
Conclusion:
Action to be taken to change the condition, why, when, and by whom
Reason change is not justified
 
Signature of Board Chairman
 
Date copy of form returned to Student