Administrative Regulation on Uniform Complaint Procedure

Administrative Regulation 1312.3

Administrative Regulation 1312.3

Administrative Regulation 1312.3

San Francisco Unified School District and County Office of Education

Administrative Regulation 1312.3

Uniform Complaint Procedures

This Administrative Regulation applies to the San Francisco Unified School District and the County Office of Education.

Except as the Governing Board may otherwise specifically provide in other District policies, these general uniform complaint procedures (UCP) shall be used to investigate and resolve only the complaints specified in BP 1312.3.

Compliance Officer

The District designates the individual identified below as the employee responsible for coordinating the District's response to complaints and for complying with state and federal civil rights laws. The individual also serve as the Compliance Officer specified in AR 5111.4, Nondiscrimination/Harassment as the responsible employee to handle complaints regarding sex discrimination.  The individual shall receive and coordinate the investigation of complaints and shall ensure District compliance with law.

Director of the Office of Equity/Title IX Coordinator

555 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor 

Telephone:  (415) 355-7334                                                                                          

Fax:  (415) 355-7333

Email:  equity@sfusd.edu

The Compliance Officer may assign another employee to investigate the complaint.  The Compliance Officer shall promptly notify the complainant if another employee is designated to investigate the complaint.

In no instance shall an employee be designated to investigate a complaint if they are mentioned in the complaint or have a conflict of interest that would prohibit them from fairly investigating the complaint. Any complaint filed against or implicating the Compliance Officer may be filed with the Superintendent or General Counsel.

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that employees designated to investigate complaints receive training and are knowledgeable about the laws and programs which they are assigned to investigate.  Training provided to such designated employees shall include current state and federal laws and regulations governing the program, applicable processes for investigating complaints, including those involving alleged discrimination, applicable standards for reaching decisions on complaints, and appropriate corrective measures.  Designated employees shall have access to the Compliance Officer and the attorneys in the Legal Office.

The Compliance Officer or, if necessary, any appropriate administrator shall determine whether interim measures are necessary during and pending the results 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, if possible, one or more of the interim measures.  The interim measures may 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.

All individuals who file a complaint in compliance with the District’s UCP policy are protected from retaliation. (Education code 234.1, 5 CCR 462.1.)

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 UCP to students, employees, parents/guardians of its students, schools, the District advisory committee members, school advisory committees, appropriate private school officials or representatives, and other interested parties that includes information regarding, allegations about discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, unlawful pupil fees and Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) requirements.  (Education Code 234.1, 262.3, 49010, 52075; 5 CCR 4610, 4620−4621)

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that all students and parents/guardians, including students and parents/guardians with limited English proficiency, have access to the relevant information provided in the District's policy, regulation, forms, and notices concerning the UCP.

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 the UCP shall be translated into that language, in accordance with Education Code 234.1 and 48985.  In all other instances, the District shall ensure meaningful access to all relevant UCP information for parents/guardians with limited English proficiency.

The notice shall:

  1. Identify the person(s), position(s), or employee(s), in the District responsible for receiving and investigating complaints and ensuring District compliance.
  2. Advise that Person(s), employee(s), or position(s) responsible in the District for compliance and/or investigations shall be knowledgeable about the laws/programs that he/she is assigned to investigate
  3. Advise the complainant of any civil law remedies that may be available to him/her under state or federal discrimination laws, if applicable.
  4. 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.
  5. Include the following statements:
     
    1. The District has the primary responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs.
    2. 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.
    3. A complaint alleging retaliation, unlawful discrimination, 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.  The time for filing may be extended for up to 90 days by the Superintendent or designee for good cause upon written request by the complainant setting forth the reasons for the extension.
    4. A student enrolled in a public school shall not be required to pay a fee for his/her participation in an educational activity that constitutes an integral fundamental part of the District's educational program, including curricular and extracurricular activities.
    5. The Board is required to adopt and annually update the LCAP in a manner that includes meaningful engagement of parents/guardians, students, and other stakeholders in the development and/or review of the LCAP.
    6. 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.
    7. The appeal to the CDE must include a copy of the complaint filed with the District and a copy of the District's decision.
    8. Copies of the District's UCP are available free of charge.
    9. In order to identify appropriate subjects of state preschool health ad safety issues pursuant to Section 1596.7925 of the Health and Safety Code (HSC section 1596.7925). A notice shall be posted in each California state preschool program classroom in each school in the District notifying parents, guardians, pupils, and teachers of both of the following:
      1. The health and safety requirements under Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations apply to California state preschool programs pursuant to HSC section 1596.7925.
      2. The location at which to obtain a form to file a complaint

District Responsibilities

The District investigates all allegations of unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying against any protected group and its policies and procedures including the following:

  1. Allegations of unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying against any protected group as identified in EC sections 200, 220 and GC section 11135, including any actual or perceived characteristics as set fourth in Penal Code section 422.55 or on the basis of a person's association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics in any program or activity conducted by the District, which is funded directly by, or that receives or benefits from any state financial assistance; and
     
  2. Unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying complaints shall be filed no later than six months from the date the alleged discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying occurred, or six months from the date the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying.

The District will provide an opportunity for complainants and/or representatives to present evidence or information.

Provisions applicable to UCP complaints regarding state preschool health and safety issues pursuant to HSC section 1596.7925:

  1. Complainants may add as much text to explain the complaint as they wish.
  2. Complaints shall be filed with the Superintendent or their designee at 555 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA 94102.
  3. Complaints about problems beyond the authority of the preschool program administrator shall be forwarded in a timely manner, but not to exceed 10 working days to the appropriate local educational agency official for resolution.

All complaints shall be investigated and resolved within 60 calendar days of the District's receipt of the complaint unless the complainant agrees in writing to an extension of the timeline.  (5 CCR 4631)  UCP expulsion appeals shall be investigated and resolved within 23 school days.

The Compliance Officer shall maintain a record of each complaint and subsequent related actions, including steps taken during the investigation and all information required for compliance with 5 CCR 4631 and 4633.

All parties involved in the allegations shall be notified when a complaint is filed and when a decision or ruling is made. However, the Compliance Officer shall keep all complaints or allegations of retaliation, unlawful discrimination, 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)

Filing of Complaint

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.

All complaints shall be filed in accordance with the following:

  1. A written 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)
  1. Any complaint alleging noncompliance with 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.  Student fee complaints shall be filed no later than one year from the date of the alleged violation. (Education Code 4630(c)(2), 49013(b), 52075(b))
     
  2. A state preschool health and safety issues complaint pursuant to HSC section 1596.7925 may be filed anonymously. A complainant who identifies himself or herself is entitled to a response if he or she indicates that a response is requested. A complaint form shall include a space to mark to indicate whether a response is requested. If Section 48985 of the Education Code is otherwise applicable, the response, if requested, and report shall be written in English and the primary language in which the complaint was filed.
     
  3. Any complaint seeking to appeal the governing board’s decision to expel a pupil under the criteria of Education Code 48922 must be filed within 30 days of the Board’s vote to expel the pupil.  The complainant must indicate the specific basis for the appeal under one or more of the 4 listed criteria of Education Code 48922.
     
  4. A complaint alleging unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying, may be filed only by a person who alleges that he/she personally suffered unlawful discrimination 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 occurred, or six months from the date when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination.  The time for filing may be extended for up to 90 days by the Superintendent or designee for good cause upon written request by the complainant setting forth the reasons for the extension.  (5 CCR 4630)
     
  5. When a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination 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.
     
  6. When the complainant or alleged victim of unlawful discrimination or bullying 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 will nevertheless take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request.
     
  7. 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)

Mediation

The Compliance Officer may informally discuss with all the parties the possibility of using mediation.  Mediation shall be offered to resolve complaints that involve more than one student and no adult.  However, mediation shall not be offered or used to resolve any complaint involving an allegation of sexual assault or where there is a reasonable risk that a party to the mediation would feel compelled to participate.  If the parties agree to mediation, the Compliance Officer shall make all arrangements for this process.

Before initiating the mediation of a complaint alleging retaliation, unlawful discrimination, or bullying, the Compliance Officer shall ensure that all parties agree to make the mediator a party to relevant confidential information.  The Compliance Officer shall also notify all parties of the right to end the informal process at any time.

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.  If mediation is successful and the complaint is withdrawn, then the District shall take only the actions agreed to through the mediation.  If mediation is unsuccessful, the District shall then continue with subsequent steps specified in this administrative regulation.

Investigation of Complaint

Within 10 business days after the Compliance Officer receives any UCP complaint, as outlined herein, the Compliance Officer shall begin an investigation into the complaint.

Within one business day of initiating the investigation, the Compliance Officer shall provide the complainant and/or their representative with the opportunity to present the information contained in complaint to the Compliance Officer and shall notify the complainant and/or their representative of the opportunity to present the Compliance Officer with any evidence, or information leading to evidence, to support the allegations in the complaint. Such evidence or information may be presented at any time during the investigation.

In conducting the investigation, the Compliance Officer shall collect all available documents and review all available records, notes, or statements related to the complaint, including any additional evidence or information received from the parties during the course of the investigation, shall individually interview all available witnesses with information pertinent to the complaint, and may visit any reasonably accessible location where the relevant actions are alleged to have taken place. To resolve a complaint alleging retaliation, unlawful discrimination, or bullying, the Compliance Officer shall interview the alleged victim(s), any alleged offenders, and other relevant witnesses privately, separately, and in a confidential manner. As necessary, additional staff or legal counsel may conduct or support the investigation.

In conducting an investigation of a complaint filed pursuant to HSC section 1596.7925, the Superintendent or their designee shall:

  1. Make all reasonable efforts to investigate any problem within the District's authority;
  2. Remedy a substantiated complaint within a reasonable time period, but not to exceed 30 working days from the date the complaint was received; and
  3. Report to the complainant the resolution of the compliant within 45 workings days of the initial filing.

If the District substantiates a complaint regarding Pupil Fees; LCAP; and/or Physical Education Instructional Minutes (grades one through eight), the remedy shall go to all affected pupils and parents/guardians.

The District will attempt in good faith by engaging in reasonable efforts to identify and fully reimburse all pupils, parents and guardians who paid a pupil fee without one year prior to the filing of the complaint. 

If the District substantiates a complaint regarding Reasonable Accommodations to a Lactating Pupil; Course Periods without Educational Content (grades nine through twelve): and/or Education of Pupils in Foster Care, Pupils who are Homeless, former Juvenile Court Pupils now enrolled in a school District, and pupils in military families, the public school or the District shall provide a remedy to the affected pupil.

In appeals of an expulsion decision, the Compliance Officer will collect the expulsion packet and evidence documents, transcript and Board decision.  The complainant shall provide information to support their challenge under one or more of the criteria of EC 48922 and the District shall provide responsive relevant information.  The complainant shall pay for the expulsion transcript unless the parent or guardian certifies that s/he cannot reasonably afford the cost of the transcript because of limited income or exceptional necessary expenses, or both.  (EC 48921)  The District shall provide the transcript and records to the Compliance Officer within 10 schooldays.  Within 20 schooldays of receiving an expulsion appeal complaint, the Compliance Officer shall set a date to meet with the complainant to hear reasons in support of the appeal; and shall also meet with the District representative to follow up on appeal criteria that have been identified by the complainant. 

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 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)

The Compliance Officer shall apply a "preponderance of the evidence" standard in determining the veracity of the factual allegations in a complaint.  This standard is met if the allegation is more likely to be true than not.

Report of Findings

Unless extended by written agreement, or otherwise provided herein, the Compliance Officer shall prepare and send to the complainant a written report of the District's investigation and decision, as described in the section "Final Written Decision" below, within 60 calendar days of the District's receipt of the complaint.  (5 CCR 4631)  The written report of the investigation and decision for expulsion appeals shall be sent within 23 school days of the District’s receipt of the complaint.

Final Written Decision

The District's decision shall be in writing and shall be sent to the complainant.  (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 that may be involved in implementing the decision or affected by the complaint, as long as the privacy of the parties is protected.

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 other 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:
  1. Statements made by any witnesses
  2. The relative credibility of the individuals involved
  3. How the complaining individual reacted to the incident
  4. Any documentary or other evidence relating to the alleged conduct
  5. Past instances of similar conduct by any alleged offenders
  6. Past false allegations made by the complainant
  7. The conclusion(s) of law
  8. Disposition of the complaint
  1. Rationale for such disposition
  2. Corrective actions, if any are warranted
  3. Notice of the compliant's right to appeal the District report to the California Department of Education (CDE) within 15 calendar days to the CDE 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 of retaliation or unlawful discrimination, including 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:

  1. How the misconduct affected one or more students' education
  2. The type, frequency, and duration of the misconduct
  3. The relationship between the alleged victim(s) and offender(s)
  4. The number of persons engaged in the conduct and at whom the conduct was directed
  5. The size of the school, location of the incidents, and context in which they occurred
  6. Other incidents at the school involving different individuals

For complaints of unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying, the notice may, as required by law, shall include:

  1. The corrective actions imposed on the individual found to have engaged in the conduct that relate directly to the subject of the complaint
  2. Individual remedies offered or provided to the subject of the complaint
  3. Systemic measures the school has taken to eliminate a hostile environment and prevent recurrence

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

  1. They 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.

Notwithstanding the requirements above, for complaints alleging failure to meet the legal requirements outlined in Education Code 48922 (expulsion appeals), the decision shall include:

  1. Findings of fact based on the record of the expulsion hearing (expulsion packet and evidence, hearing transcript, written expulsion findings) and arguments submitted by complainant and the District
  2. Conclusions of law on whether the complaint is supported by one or more of the 4 criteria in Education Code 48922;
  3. The disposition of the complaint, and corrective actions if warranted, within the legal options listed in Education Code 48923;
  4. The rationale for the decision;
  5.  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. 

Corrective Actions

When a complaint is substantiated, 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, unlawful discrimination, or bullying, appropriate corrective actions that focus on the victim 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; and
  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, unlawful discrimination, 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;
  8. Interventions in accordance with board policies.

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, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying, that the District does not tolerate it, and how to report and respond to it.

If a complaint alleging noncompliance with the laws regarding student fees, deposits, and other charges or any requirement related to the LCAP is substantiated, the District shall provide a remedy to all affected students and parents/guardians. (Education Code 49013, 52075)

For complaints alleging noncompliance with the laws regarding student fees, the District will make reasonable efforts to identify and fully reimburse all affected pupils, parents, and guardians who paid a student fee within one year prior to the filing of the complaint.  (Education Code 49013(d), 52075(d)); 5 CCR 4600(u))

Document Retention

In accordance with District policy, upon completion of the investigation, the Director of Equity will destroy all interview notes and recordings, unless preservation is necessary to pursue recommended corrective action.  The rest of the case file will be retained in accordance with the District policy for 3 years. 

Appeals to the California Department of Education

Any complainant who is dissatisfied with the District's final written decision may file an appeal in writing with the CDE within 15 calendar days of receiving the District's decision.  (Education Code 49013, 52075; 5 CCR 4632)

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 District's UCP policies and procedures shall include the following statements on how to file an appeal regarding State Preschool Health and Safety issues in Districts Exempt From Licensing

  1. A complainant not satisfied with the resolution of the preschool program administrator or the designee of the Superintendent has the right to describe the complaint to our governing board (or authorized designee) at a regularly scheduled hearing of the governing board
  2. A complainant who is not satisfied with the resolution proffered by the preschool program administrator or the designee of Superintendent has the right to file an appeal to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) within 30 days of the date of the report
  3. A complainant shall comply with the appeal requirements of 5 CCR section 4632
  4. The SSPI or his or her designee shall comply with the requirements of 5 CCR section 4633 and shall provide a written Decision to the State Board of Education describing the basis for the complaint, the District's response to the state preschool health and safety issued pursuant to HSC section 1596.7925 complaint and its remedy or proposed remedy and a proposed remedy for the issue described in the complaint, if different from the District's remedy
  5. We shall report summarized data on the nature and resolution of all state preschool health and safety issues complaints pursuant to HSC section 1596.7925 on a quarterly basis to the county superintendent of schools and the governing board (or authorized designee), as applicable, of the District. The summaries shall be publicly reported on a quarterly basis at a regularly scheduled meeting of the District's governing board. The report shall include the number of complaints by general subject area with the number of resolved and unresolved complaints
  6. All complaints and responses are public records

This policy extends to the San Francisco County of Education, including community school programs and activities.

 

Please note that compare references, or “cf”, refer to CSBA model policies and do not necessarily indicate that the San Francisco Unified School District has adopted the referenced policy.

 

Cross References

Revised: November 17, 2017

Revised: March 13, 2013

Revised: September 2007

Revised: July, 20, 2006

Revised: May 2006

First Adopted: July 2002