The Washoe County School District and its Board of Trustees recognize that parents/guardians have the right and the responsibility to represent their
children, and that other citizens have an interest in commenting on public
education. Therefore, it is the
obligation of the employees of the District to respond to the questions,
concerns, and complaints of parents/guardians and/or members of the public.
a. The District encourages the response to inquiries and complaints from the public to occur at the school or lowest possible administrative level and by an informal process of cooperative agreement among affected parties. Formal steps for resolving complaints should only be used after informal approaches have been unsuccessful in resolving the complaint.
b. This regulation is designed to govern the resolution of disputes and appeal of administrative decisions, except when an alternative dispute resolution process is specifically provided by statute or another District governing document, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or decisions regarding discipline of employees.2. There may be instances when an individual’s concern would be better handled using a different resolution process. In those instances, the complainant will be notified by staff in a reasonable amount of time regarding the resolution process. Examples of such may include, but not be limited to:
i. Student complaints related to bullying, harassment or discrimination;
ii. Decisions regarding extracurricular or co-curricular activities;
iii. Staff complaints related to an intimidating or hostile work environment.3. The District has several avenues of support to assist in processing inquiries and complaints, provide general information, and bring affected parties together.
a. The Office of the Deputy Superintendent
i. The Office of School Performance and the Area Superintendents directly supervise the schools and school principals.
ii. The Office of Student Services houses the District’s Options Programs as well as:
1. Department of Student Support Services / Special Education
2. Department of Equity & Diversity (Title VI and Title IX Coordinator)
3. Department of School Counseling (Title II, Section 504 Coordinator)
iii. The Office of Academics oversees the areas of curriculum and instruction.
b. The Office of the Chief of Staff
c. The Office of Human Resources’ Department of Labor Relations shall oversee labor inquires as well as claims of staff hostile work environment.
d. The Office of Operations houses several departments to include:
4. Informal Complaintsi. Department of Transportation
ii. Department of Nutrition Services
iii. Department of Facilities Management
a. The informal complaint resolution process is designed and intended to allow a student, parent/guardian or other member of the community to address and resolve issues at the school level with the principal or designated school site administrator in a timely manner.
b. The informal complaint resolution process may occur as a telephone conference, written communication or face-to-face conference between the principal or designated school site administrator and the student, parent/guardian, or other member of the community.
c. In the event the issue(s) is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, parent/guardian, or member of the community or if the principal believes the issue may require intervention at the District administration level, the complainant may take the concern to Level One in the Formal Complaint Resolution process.5. Formal Complaint Resolution – Level One
a. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the actions taken by the principal or supervisor, he/she may submit a formal written complaint.
b. The Formal Complaint Resolution Process shall be initiated upon District receipt of the written complaint form and any attached documentation (Administrative Form 1312, Public Complaint Form).
i. If the complainant requires assistance in completing this form due to a disability or a language barrier that would hinder his/her ability to complete the complaint form, the District shall provide such assistance.
c. The formal written complaint must be filed within 90 days of the date the complainant first knew, or should have known, of the decision or action giving rise to the complaint or grievance. Such complaints should be filed with the lowest level administrator who has the authority to remedy the alleged problem. If the complaint is not filed with the appropriate administrator, the receiving administrator must note the date and time the complaint form was received and immediately forward the complaint form to the appropriate administrator.
i. In most circumstances, students and parents/guardians shall file Level One complaints with the Area Superintendent of the Office of School Performance.
ii. If the only administrator who has authority to remedy the alleged problem is the Superintendent, the complaint may begin at Level Two following the procedure, including deadlines, for filing the complaint form at Level One.
d. The appropriate administrator shall:
i. Acknowledge receipt of the Complaint in writing within three (3) working days to the Complainant.
ii. Investigate issues and hold a conference with the Complainant, if necessary, within fifteen (15) working days after receipt of the written complaint. The administrator may set reasonable time limits for the conference.
iii. The administrator shall provide the Complainant a written response within fifteen (15) working days following receipt of the Complaint. The written response shall either constitute a final resolution of the complaint or an update to the investigatory process. In reaching a decision, the administrator may consider information provided at the Level One conference and any other relevant documents or information the administrator believes will help resolve the complaint.
6. Formal Complaints – Level Two Appealiv. The employee in question and his/her supervisor will receive a copy of the written response sent to the complainant, and the supervisor will keep a copy of the complaint and the response on file in his/her office for one (1) year.
a. If the complainant is dissatisfied following Level One, the Complainant may appeal the matter to the Superintendent or his/her designee. Such appeal must be received by the Superintendent/Designee within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of response, as described above.
b. The Superintendent/designee shall investigate the matter and respond in writing within fifteen (15) working days. At the discretion of the Superintendent/designee, a conference may be conducted between the Superintendent/designee and Complainant as part of the investigation.
c. The Superintendent/Designee shall provide copies of his/her response to the complainant, to the principal/supervisor, and to the employee who is the subject of the complaint.7. Complaints Against the Superintendent
a. Individuals with complaints about actions of the Superintendent should submit those concerns to the Superintendent, in writing, in an attempt to resolve the complaint. The Superintendent shall determine if a meeting is warranted in the matter. If the complaint is not resolved, the Complainant may file a Level Three Appeal.8. Formal Complaints – Level Three Appeal
a. When a public complaint is not resolved through the steps outlined in Level 2, or in matters involving the Superintendent, the complaint may be submitted, within fifteen (15) working days from receipt of written notice of disposition, to the attention of the Board of Trustees, under the following conditions:
i. The complaint shall be in writing and signed by the individual or individuals registering the complaint.
ii. The individual employee named in the complaint shall be advised of the nature of the complaint and given every opportunity for explanation, comment and presentation of facts, as he/she understands them.
iii. The administration, the complainant, or the employee may request an executive session of the Board of Trustees for the purpose of a more complete study and discussion. The Board of Trustees, through the Board President, shall schedule or deny such an Executive Session at its own discretion.
iv. Executive Session of the Board of Trustees
1. During an executive session to study a complaint, if granted, the Board of Trustees shall observe the following:
a. All individuals concerned shall be present for the purposes of presenting additional facts, making further explanations, and clarifying issues.
b. Rumors shall not be presented or discussed.
c. The Board of Trustees shall conduct the meeting in a fair and just manner.
d. The Board of Trustees may request a disinterested third party to act as a mediator in helping to reach a mutually satisfactory solution.
e. The employee may be represented by a person of his or her own choosing.
f. The complainant may be represented by a person of his/her own choosing.
v. Resolution and Disposition
9. Additional Information1. The final resolution and disposition of the complaint shall be communicated in writing by the President of the Board of Trustees. A copy of the resolution letter shall be provided to the complainant, the principal/supervisor, and the employee who is the subject of the complaint.
a. Confidentiality – All complaints will be kept confidential to the extent possible and in compliance with all state and federal laws. Disciplinary action taken by the District against any individual is considered confidential and shall not be disclosed to the Complainant.
b. Appropriate administrative action will be taken when there is a violation of a Board policy, administrative regulation, standard District practice, or administrative directive.
c. False Accusations – A student or staff member who knowingly files a false or fabricated accusation may be held responsible for their actions, and may be subject to disciplinary action. All individuals should exercise discretion in discussing matters that may prove to be potentially libelous or slanderous in nature.
d. Time Limits – All time limits, as outlined in this administrative regulation, shall be strictly followed unless modified by mutual written consent between the District and the Complainant.
e. If the same or a similar problem occurs, or additional relevant information is presented, the resolution process may proceed from the point at which the original complaint was resolved.
f. Costs Incurred – Each party shall pay his/her own costs incurred in the course of the complaint.
g. The Superintendent/designee may investigate any matter brought to his/her attention at any level during the process.
h. A Complainant may withdraw a complaint at any time.
i. A student may be represented by a parent/guardian at any level of the complaint resolution process.
ii. A representative may be designated by the Complainant or Respondent of the investigation through written notice to the District at any level of this process. If the representative is designated with fewer than three days’ notice to the District before a scheduled conference or hearing, the District may reschedule the conference or hearing to a later date.
iii. The District may be represented by counsel at any level of the process.
j. Consolidating Complaints
i. Complaints arising out of an event or a series of related events should, if possible, be addressed in one complaint and at the lowest supervisory level possible.
k. Disciplinary proceedings
i. Disciplinary action, if any, is a matter between the employee and the supervising administrator and will not be made public.
ii. Complaints expressed by the community shall be kept in confidence and the names of students and parents and/or guardians and the circumstances of the complaint shall not be discussed with individuals not directly involved in the complaint.
i. Under no circumstances may an employee take any retaliatory actions or reprisals against a student or single out or ridicule a student because a public complaint has been filed. An employee shall not discuss a public complaint with any student unless done so as part of the investigation in the presence of the appropriate administrator, and with the consent or accompaniment of the student’s parent and/or guardian.
10. Nothing in this regulation shall preempt any rights or procedures available to an employee pursuant to any relevant collective bargaining agreement or statute covering the employee.ii. If the inappropriate employee behavior described above occurs, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.