The Governing School Board recognizes that the district has a primary responsibility for insuring that it complies with federal and state laws and regulations and that the district shall investigate complaints alleging failure to comply with applicable state and federal laws and regulations and/or alleging discrimination, and seek to resolve those complaints in accordance with the procedures set out in sections 4600-4687 of the Title 5 Regulations and in accordance with the policies and procedures of the governing board. The Governing School Board designates the following compliance officer to receive and investigate complaints and ensure district compliance with law:
West Covina Unified School District
Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources
1717 West Merced Avenue
West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 939-4600 ext. 4671
The Board prohibits retaliation in any form for the filing of a complaint, the reporting of instances of discrimination, or for participation in complaint procedures. Any discrimination complaints shall be investigated in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the parties and the facts.
Step 1: Filing of Complaint
Any individual, public agency, or organization may file a written complaint of alleged noncompliance. Complaints may be made using the standard form available at the school site or the district office. Complaints may be anonymous. If the complainant requests a response and provides contact information, the district shall provide a response in writing to the mailing address of the complainant indicated on the complaint. If a complainant is unable to put a complaint in writing due to conditions such as illiteracy or other handicaps, district staff shall help him/her to file the complaint.
Complaints alleging unlawful discrimination may be filed 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 unlawful discrimination. The complaint must be initiated no later than six months from the date when the alleged discrimination occurred or when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination. (Title 5, Section 4630)
Complaints should be filed with the appropriate compliance officer depending on the nature and scope of the 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.
Step 2: Investigation and Mediation of Complaint
The compliance officer is encouraged to hold an investigative meeting within five days of receiving the complaint or an unsuccessful attempt to mediate the complaint. This meeting shall provide an opportunity for the complainant and/or his/her representative to repeat the complaint orally.
The complainant and/or his/her representative and the district’s representatives shall also have an opportunity to present information relevant to the complaint. Refusal by the complainant to provide the investigator with documents or other evidence related to the allegations in the complaint, or to otherwise fail or 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 or cooperate in the investigation or engage in any other obstruction of the investigation, may result in a finding based on evidence collected that a violation has occurred and may result in the imposition of a remedy in favor of the complainant. Parties to the dispute may discuss the complaint and question each other or each other’s witnesses. (5 CCR 4631) Mediation does not extend the timeline for investigation and resolution of the complaint unless the complainant agrees in writing to an extension.
Step 3: Response
Within 45 days from the initial filing of the complaint a written report of the resolution shall be forwarded to the complainant. If the principal makes this report, the principal shall also report the same information in the same timeframe to the district superintendent or his/her designee.
When Education Code 48985 is applicable and the complainant has requested a response, the response shall be written in English and in the primary language in which the complaint was filed. (Education Code 35186)
All other complaints will receive a response within 60 days of receiving the complaint; the compliance officer shall prepare and send to the complainant a written report of the district’s investigation and decision, as described in Step 4 below. If a person is not satisfied with the resolution of the complaint, the person can appeal to the Governing Board. The Board may consider the matter at its next regular Board meeting or at a special Board meeting convened in order to meet the legally required time limit within which the complaint must be answered. The Board may decide not to hear the complaint, in which case the compliance officer’s decision becomes final.
If the Board hears the complaint, the compliance officer shall send the Board’s decision to the complainant within 60 days of the district’s initially receiving the complaint or within the time period that has been specified in written agreement with the complainant. (5 CCR 4631)
Step 4: Final Written Decision
A written report shall be sent to the complainant within the legal time limits depending on the nature of the complaint and, upon request, to the California Department of Education (CDE). The report of the district’s decision shall be written in English and in the language of the complainant whenever feasible or required by law. If it is not feasible to write this report in the complainant’s primary language, the district shall arrange a meeting at which a community member will interpret it for the complainant.
This report shall include:
- The findings of fact based on the evidence gathered, conclusion of law, and disposition of the complaint, including corrective actions, if any.
- The rationale for the above disposition.
- Notice of the complainant’s right to appeal the decision to the California Department of Education within 15 days, and procedures to be followed for initiating such an appeal.
- For discrimination complaints, notice that the complainant must wait until 60 days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the California Department of Education before pursuing civil law remedies.
- A detailed statement of all specific issues that were brought up during the investigation and the extent to which these issues were resolved.
Appeals to the State Department of Education
If an employee is disciplined as a result of the complaint, the report shall simply state that effective action was taken and that the employee was informed of district expectations. The report shall not give any further information as to the nature of the disciplinary action.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the district’s decision, including a condition of a facility that poses an emergency or urgent threat, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of section 17592.72, the complainant may appeal in writing to the Superintendent of Public Instruction within 15 days of receiving the district’s response. The complainant shall comply with the appeal requirements specified in 5 CCR 4632. All complaints and written responses shall be public records.
Upon notification by the Superintendent of Public Instruction that an appeal has been filed pursuant to Title 5, Section 4652, the district shall forward the following to the Superintendent:
- The original complaint;
- A copy of the District’s decision;
- A summary of the nature and extent of the investigation conducted by the district, if not covered in the District’s decision;
- A report of any action taken to resolve the complaint;
- A copy of the District’s complaint procedures; and
- Such other relevant information as the Superintendent may require.
When appealing to the California Department of Education, the complainant must specify the reason(s) for appealing the district’s decision and must include a copy of the locally filed complaint and the district’s decision. (Title 5, Section 4652)
The Department of Education may directly intervene in the complaint without waiting for action by the district when one of the conditions listed in 5 CCR 4650 exists. In addition, the California Department of Education may also intervene in those cases where the district has not taken action within 60 calendar days of the date the complaint was filed with the district.
Civil Law Remedies
A complainant may pursue available civil law remedies outside of the district’s complaint procedures. Complainants may seek assistance from mediation centers or public/private interest attorneys. Civil law remedies that may be imposed by a court include, but are not limited to, injunctions and restraining orders. For discrimination complaints, however, a complainant must wait until 60 days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the California Department of Education before pursuing civil law remedies. The moratorium does not apply to injunctive relief and is applicable only if the district has appropriately, and in a timely manner, apprised the complainant of his/her right to file a complaint in accordance with 5 CCR 4622.