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.
The District designates the individuals 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 individuals 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.
Executive Director of the Office of Equity and/or Title IX Coordinator
555 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor
Telephone: (415) 355-7334
District 504 Coordinator
The Compliance Officers may assign another employee to investigate the complaint. The Compliance Officers 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 Investigation Report , 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.) Retaliation is an act of discrimination, coercion, intimidation or threat against a person for the purpose of interfering with the exercise of a protected right, such as making a complaint, testifying, assisting, or participating in an investigation in any matter.
The UCP Annual Notice and 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 District shall disseminate on an annual basis the UCP Annual Notice which is a written notice of the District's approved UCP complaint procedures to all Districts students, employees, parents or guardians of District students, school and District advisory committee members, appropriate private school officials or representatives, and other interested parties.
This notice may be made available on the District's website as well and shall include the following:
- information regarding allegations about discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying;
- the list of all federal and state programs within the scope of the UCP;
- the title of the position whose occupant is responsible for processing complaints, their contact information, and the identity(ies) of the person(s) currently occupying that position, if known;
- a statement that the occupant responsible for processing complaints is knowledgeable about the laws and programs that they are assigned to investigate;
- a statement that in order to identify appropriate subjects of state preschool health and safety issues pursuant to Section 1596.7925 of the Health and Safety Code (HSC) a notice, separate from the UCP Annual Notice, shall be posted in each California state preschool program classroom in each school in the local educational agency notifying parents, guardians, pupils, and teachers of (1) the health and safety requirements under Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (5 CCR) apply to California state preschool programs pursuant to HSC Section 1596.7925 and (2) the location at which to obtain a form to file a complaint. (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.
Filing UCP Complaints
A UCP complaint is a written and signed statement alleging a violation of federal or state laws or regulations, which may include an allegation of unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying. A signature may be handwritten, typed (including in an email) or electronically generated. Some complaints may be filed anonymously. A UCP complaint filed on behalf of an individual student may only be filed by that student or that student's duly authorized representative.
A complainant is any individual, including a person's duly authorized representative or an interested third party, public agency, or organization who files a written complaint alleging violation of federal or state laws or regulations, including allegations of unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying in programs and activities funded directly by the state or receiving any financial assistance from the state.
UCP complaints alleging 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 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.
All other UCP complaints shall be filed no later than one year from the date the alleged violation occurred.
If the complainant is unable to put the complaint in writing, due to a disability or illiteracy, the District shall assist the complainant in the filing of the complaint.
A UCP complaint alleging unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying may be filed only by a person who alleges that they personally suffered unlawful discrimination; by a person who believes that any specific class of individuals has been subjected to it; or by a duly authorized representative who alleges that an individual student has been subjected to unlawful discrimination. 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. When the complainant or alleged victim of unlawful discrimination or bullying requests confidentiality, the Compliance Officer shall inform them 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.
A pupil fees complaint may be filed with the principal of a school or with the superintendent or their designee. A pupil fees complaint may be filed anonymously, that is, without an identifying signature, if the complaint provides evidence or information leading to evidence to support an allegation of noncompliance.
For complaints relating to Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP), the date of the alleged violation is the date when the reviewing authority approves the LCAP or annual update that the District adopted. An LCAP complaint may be filed anonymously, that is, without an identifying signature, if the complaint provides evidence or information leading to evidence to support an allegation of noncompliance.
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 four listed criteria of Education Code 48922.
Complaints within the scope of the UCP are to be filed with the Compliance Office named in this Administrative Regulation
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.
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.
Investigating UCP Complaints
The UCP complaint investigation is the District's administrative process for the purpose of gathering data regarding the 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.
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) 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.
Refusal by the complainant to provide the investigator with documents or other evidence related to the allegations in the complaint, or to otherwise fail to refuse to cooperate in the investigation or engage in any other obstruction of the investigation, may result in the dismissal of the complaint because of a lack of evidence to support the allegations.
Refusal by the District to provide the investigator with access to records and/or other information related to the allegation in the complaint, or to otherwise fail to refuse to cooperate in the investigation or engage in any other obstruction of the investigation, may result in the dismissal of the complaint because of a lack of evidence to support the allegations.
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.
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.
UCP Complaint Resolution
The District will thoroughly investigate the UCP complaint and issue a written Investigation Report to the complainant within 60 calendar days from the date of the receipt of the complaint, unless the complainant agrees in writing to an extension of time. (5 CCR 4631)
This Investigation Report will contain the following elements:
- The findings of fact based on the evidence gathered;
- A conclusion that provides a clear determination for each allegation as to whether the District is in compliance with the relevant law;
- Corrective actions, if the complaint is found to have merit:
- For complaints regarding Pupil Fees; LCAP; Physical Education Instructional Minutes, or Course Periods without Educational Content, the remedy shall go to all affected pupils, parents, or guardians,
- For all other complaints within the scope of the Uniform Complaint Procedures the remedy shall go to the affected pupil,
- With respect to a Pupil Fees complaint, corrective actions shall include a remedy where in good faith, by engaging in reasonable efforts, an attempt to identify and fully reimburse all pupils, parents and guardians who paid a pupil fee within one year prior to the filing of the complaint;
- A notice of the complainant's right to appeal the District's Investigation Report to the California Department of Education (CDE); and
- The procedures to be followed for initiating an appeal to the CDE.
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.
In consultation with District legal counsel, information about the relevant part of an Investigation Report may be communicated to a victim who is not the complainant and to other parties that may be involved in implementing the Investigation Report 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 students speak a single primary language other than English, the Investigation Report 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.
Complainants 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)
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)
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.
Complaints alleging discrimination under the FAIR Act (i.e. allegations that the Board has refused to approve/prohibit the use of a textbook, instructional material, library book, etc., on the basis that it includes “a study of the role and contributions of any individual or group” protected in the FAIR Act) may be filed with the District or with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction directly. Complaints filed directly with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall identify the basis and shall present evidence that supports the basis for filing the complaint directly with the Superintendent.
Notwithstanding the requirements above, for complaints alleging failure to meet the legal requirements outlined in Education Code 48922 (expulsion appeals), the Investigation Report shall include:
- 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;
- Conclusions of law on whether the complaint is supported by one or more of the 4 criteria in Education Code 48922;
- The disposition of the complaint, and corrective actions if warranted, within the legal options listed in Education Code 48923;
- The rationale for the decision; and
- Notice of the complainant's right to appeal the District's decision within 30 calendar days to the CDE and procedures to be followed for initiating such an appeal.
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:
- Academic support;
- Health services;
- Assignment of an escort to allow the victim to move safely about campus;
- Information regarding available resources and how to report similar incidents or retaliation;
- Separation of the victim from any other individuals involved, provided the separation does not penalize the victim;
- Restorative justice;
- Follow-up inquiries to ensure that the conduct has stopped and there has been no retaliation; and
- 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:
- Transfer from a class or school as permitted by law;
- Parent/guardian conference;
- Education regarding the impact of the conduct on others;
- Positive behavior support;
- Referral to a student success team;
- Denial of participation in extracurricular or co-curricular activities or other privileges as permitted by law;
- Disciplinary action, such as suspension or expulsion, as permitted by law;
- 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))
In accordance with District policy, upon completion of the investigation, the Executive Director of the Office 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.
UCP Complaint Appeals Process
Any complainant who is dissatisfied with the District's final written Investigation Report may file an appeal in writing with the CDE within 30 calendar days of receiving the District's Investigation Report . (Education Code 49013, 52075; 5 CCR 4632). An appeal is a written and signed request by the complainant to the CDE seeking review of a District's Investigation Report that was issued in response to a properly-filed complaint. A signature may be handwritten, typed (including in an email) or electronically-generated.
The complainant shall specify and explain the basis for the appeal, including at least one of the following:
- The District failed to follow its complaint procedures, and/or
- The Investigation Report lacks material findings of fact necessary to reach a conclusion of law, and/or
- The material findings of fact in the Investigation Report are not supported by substantial evidence, and/or
- The legal conclusion in the Investigation Report is inconsistent with the law, and/or
- In a case where the District found noncompliance, the corrective actions fail to provide a proper remedy.
The appeal shall be sent with: (1) a copy of the locally filed complaint and (2) a copy of the District's Investigation Report. (5 CCR 4632)
Upon notification by the CDE that the complainant has appealed the District's Investigation Report, the Superintendent or designee shall forward the following documents to the CDE within 10 days of the date of notification: (5 CCR 4633)
- A copy of the original complaint
- A copy of the Investigation Report
- 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
- A report of any action taken to resolve the complaint
- A copy of the District's uniform complaint procedures
- Other relevant information requested by the CDE
If notified by CDE that the District's investigation report failed to address allegation(s) raised by the complaint, the District shall, within 20 days of the notification, provide CDE and the appellant with an amended investigation report that addresses the allegation(s) that were not addressed in the original investigation report. The amended report shall also inform the appellant of the right to separately appeal the amended report with respect to the allegation(s) that were not addressed in the original report. (5 CCR 4632)
Filing a UCP Complaint Regarding Health and Safety in License-Exempt Preschool Programs
To file a UCP complaint regarding a state preschool health and safety issue pursuant to HSC Section 1596.7925 the complainant must file with the preschool program administrator or their designee. (5 CCR 4690-4694)
A state preschool health and safety issues complaint 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.
In order to identify appropriate subjects of CSPP health and safety issues pursuant to Health and Safety Code 1596.7925, a notice shall be posted in each license-exempt CSPP classroom in the District notifying parents/guardians, students, and teachers of the health and safety requirements of Title 5 regulations that apply to CSPP programs pursuant to Health and Safety Code 1596.7925 and the location at which to obtain a form to file any complaint alleging noncompliance with those requirements. For this purpose, the Superintendent or designee may download and post a notice available from the CDE website. (Education Code 8212;5 CCR 4691)
The District's annual UCP notification distributed pursuant to 5 CCR 4622 shall clearly indicate which of its CSPP programs are operating as exempt from licensing and which CSPP programs are operating pursuant to requirements under Title 22 of the Code of Regulations. (5 CCR 4691)
A state preschool health and safety issues complaint may be filed anonymously, that is, without an identifying signature, if the complaint provides evidence or information leading to evidence to support an allegation of noncompliance. A complainant who identifies themselves is entitled to a response if they indicate that a response is requested. The complaint form shall specify the location for filing the complaint, contain a space to indicate whether the complainant desires a response to the complaint, and allow a complainant to add as much text as desired to explain the complaint. (Education Code 8212;5 CCR 4690). If EC section 48985 is otherwise applicable, the response, if requested, and our Investigation Report shall be written in English and the primary language in which the complaint was filed.
The preschool administrator or the Superintendent or designee shall make all reasonable efforts to investigate any complaint within their authority. (Education Code 8212; 5 CCR 4692). Investigation of a complaint regarding health or safety issues in a license-exempt CSPP program shall begin within 10 days of receipt of the complaint. (Education Code 8212; 5 CCR 4692)
The preschool administrator or designee shall remedy a valid complaint within a reasonable time period not to exceed 30 working days from the date of the complaint was received. If the complainant has indicated on the complaint form a desire to receive a response to the complaint, the preschool administrator or Superintendent's designee shall, within 45 working days of the initial filing of the complaint, report the resolution of the complaint to the complainant. If the preschool administrator makes this report, the information shall be reported at the same time to the Superintendent or designee. (Education Code 8212;5 CCR 4692)
Filing an Appeal Regarding UCP State Preschool Health and Safety Issues
A complainant not satisfied with the resolution of the preschool program administrator or the designee of the District Superintendent has the right to describe the complaint at a regularly scheduled hearing of our board. A complainant will not be precluded from filing an appeal to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) if the complainant does not file a local appeal.
A complainant who is not satisfied with the resolution proffered by the preschool program administrator or the designee of our Superintendent has the right to file an appeal to the SSPI within 30 calendar days of the date of the investigation report
The complainant shall comply with the same appeal requirements of 5 CCR section 4632 as in the section above "UCP Complaint Appeal Process"
The complainant shall include a copy of the Investigation Report and specify and explain the basis for the appeal, including at least one of the following:
- The preschool program administrator or the designee of our superintendent failed to follow its complaint procedures, and/or
- The Investigation Report lacks material findings of fact necessary to reach a conclusion of law, and/or
- Material findings of fact in the Investigation Report are not supported by substantial evidence, and/or
- The legal conclusion in the Investigation Report are not supported by substantial evidence, and/or
- If the preschool program is found noncompliant, the corrective actions fail to provide a proper remedy.
The SSPI or their designee shall comply with the requirements of 5 CCR section 4633 and shall provide a written Investigation Report for our agency to the State Board of Education describing the basis for the complaint, our response to the state preschool health and safety issues pursuant to HSC section 1596.7925 complaint and its remedy or proposed remedy and a proposed remedy and, as appropriate a proposed remedy for the issue described in the complaint, if different from our agency's remedy
The District shall report summarized data on the nature and resolution of all state preschool health and safety issues complaints on a quarterly basis to the county superintendent of schools and the board. The summaries shall be publicly reported on a quarterly basis at a regularly scheduled meeting of the board. The report shall include the number of complaints by general subject area with the number of resolved and unresolved complaints.
All complaints and responses are public records
Revised: February 13, 2024
Revised: October 11, 2022
Revised: August 3, 2021
Revised: November 17, 2017
Revised: March 13, 2013
Revised: September 2007
Revised: July, 20, 2006
Revised: May 2006
First Adopted: July 2002
This page was last updated on February 14, 2024