Complaints

School Board Policy 4220

Constructive criticism can be helpful to the district. At the same time, the board has confidence in its staff and programs and shall act to protect them from unwarranted criticism or disruptive interference. Complaints received by the board or by an individual director will be referred to the superintendent or designee for investigation.

It is the policy of the Tahoma School District to respond to the needs and concerns of the community. Open communication between the district and community and clear procedures for processing community concerns are essential to ensure that

  1. Parent concerns are handled expeditiously;
  2. The community is informed of the procedures for appealing a district decision;
  3. Employees have the opportunity to remedy complaints;
  4. Employees are fairly heard before any administrative remedy/action is initiated;
  5. The channel for resolving parent complaints is consistently applied.

The superintendent or designee shall develop procedures to handle complaints concerning school personnel or programs. Complaints regarding instructional materials should be pursued in the manner suggested by Policy 2020 (Curriculum Development and Adoption of Instructional Materials).

Procedure 4220

The following guidelines and procedures are intended to protect the rights of all individuals and to assist parents and district employees in resolving concerns. These guidelines are based on the belief that satisfactory resolution of problems most often occurs when those parties directly involved have the opportunity to discuss their concerns with each other and work together to resolve the issues.

The procedure outlined below should be followed for any parental complaint against a Tahoma School District employee, except complaints arising out of student discipline (WAC 180-40) or handicapped education (WAC 392-171).

Step 1: The parent shall first be required to attempt to resolve the problem with the individual employee.

Step 2: If the employee and the parent have not resolved the complaint at Step 1, either party may request the principal or immediate supervisor to assist with resolution.

Step 3: If the problem is not resolved to the parent's satisfaction, the parent must then put the complaint in writing on the Parent Complaint Form and present it to the building principal or supervisor.

Any written charge of misconduct made against an employee by any parent, student, or other person will be promptly called to the attention of the employee.

When charges of misconduct are made against an employee by any parent, student, or other person which results in an investigation, the principal or supervisor will give written notice of the allegations to the employee within twelve (12) working days of commencement of the investigation. Any investigation will include an opportunity for the employee to respond to all allegations lodged against him/her.

The parent and the employee will be given written notice of the results of the investigation within twelve (12) working days of completion of the investigation.

An employee shall be entitled to and be informed of the right to have present a representative of the Association during any disciplinary action excluding informal warnings, criticism, or suggestions for improvement which do not independently form a basis for formal action.

Step 4: If the parent is not satisfied with the response of the principal or supervisor, the parent may appeal to the superintendent or designee in writing within ten (10) working days* of receipt of the Step 3 response. Copies of the appeal request shall be sent to the employee, the principal or supervisor within 3 (three) working days* of its receipt by the superintendent or designee. "Employees will be afforded all rights to representation specificied in their negotiated agreement."

Upon receipt of the appeal, the superintendent or designee shall investigate and forward a response by certified mail to the parent within ten (10) working days.* At the same time copies of the response shall be given to the employee, the principal or supervisor, and the Association.

Step 5: If the parent is not satisfied with the response of the superintendent or designee, the parent may submit a written appeal to the Board of Directors within ten (10) working days* of receiving the superintendent's or designee's decision.

Following its review, the Board of Directors shall forward a written response by certified mail to the parent within five (5) working* days following its next regular meeting. At the same time, copies of the response shall be given to the employee, the principal or supervisor and the Association.

All of the timelines contained herein can be adjusted by the District if the nature of the complaint or time of filing indicates that more time is needed for complete investigation and processing of the complaint.

For purposes of these guidelines and procedures, the term "working day" shall mean any day during the regular school year on which children are scheduled to attend school, or any day during the summer break on which the school district's central office is open for business.

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