Banning Unified School District - Responding to Complaints

Responding to Complaints


What Happens After You File A Complaint?

An investigation plan is put into immediate action once you file a complaint

I.  Interim Measures Pending Resolution of the Complaint

When the Coordinator receives a complaint or notice of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, the Coordinator will undertake an appropriate inquiry and take such prompt and effective action as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances to support and protect the complainant, the District and to avoid retaliation against the victim(s) before the final outcome of the investigation.  Interim measures may be implemented without prior notice to the accused whenever there is reason to believe, based on available facts, that the continued presence of the accused poses a substantial threat to himself/herself, to others, to District property, or to the stability and continuance of normal District functions.
II.  No Contact Order or Other Protective Orders
The Title IX Coordinator may impose a "no-contact" order, which typically will include a directive that the parties refrain from having contact with one another, directly or through proxies, whether in person or via electronic means, pending the investigation and, if applicable, the hearing. The Title IX Coordinator also may take any further protective action that he or she deems appropriate concerning the interaction of the parties pending the hearing, if any, including, without limitation, directing appropriate BUSD officials to alter the students' academics, and/or BUSD's employment arrangements.  
 
When taking steps to separate the complainant and the accused, the Title IX Coordinator will seek to minimize unnecessary or unreasonable burdens on either party; provided, however, that every reasonable effort will be made to allow the complainant to continue in his or her academic, and/or BUSD employment arrangements. Violation(s) of the Coordinator's directive and/or protective actions will constitute related offenses that may lead to additional disciplinary action.  
 
III. The Investigation (Informal or Formal)
 After immediate implementation of interim measures, the subsequent procedure will be the investigation,which may or may not include the following:
  • Interview with the reporter
  • Interview with the witness(es)
  • Interview with the perpetrator
  • Hearing
  • Reported resolution
A typical investigation should be completed within sixty (60) calendar days of the Coordinator’s notice of the allegations, but depending upon the circumstances, may extend beyond sixty (60) days.   
 
The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has interpreted Title IX to require schools to evaluate evidence collected during an investigation under a "preponderance of the evidence" standard and that is the standard used in these procedures for all discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, stalking and retaliation claims. A preponderance of the evidence means that the information shows that it is "more likely than not” that the accused person(s) violated Title IX.
 
 
IV.  There are three (3) possible conclusions that may result from a Title IX Investigation:
  1.  Substantiated:   Based on the totality of the circumstances and the information obtained pursuant to the investigation, and based on a more likely than not standard of proof (preponderance of the evidence), it is/is not  more likely than not that respondent committed the alleged violation(s).  
  2. Unsubstantiated:  It is not possible to determine whether the allegation(s) is true or untrue. There is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove that the allegation is true.
  3.  Unfounded:   It is more likely than not that the allegation(s), while made in good faith, is untrue. A finding that the allegations are unfounded does not indicate that the complaint was improper or knowingly false.    
 
V.  Notice of Outcome:
Generally, within ten working days of the completion of the investigation, the complainant and the respondent shall be concurrently informed in writing of the outcome of the investigation. The investigation report serves as the notice of outcome for the parties.  “Outcome” does not refer to information about disciplinary sanctions unless otherwise noted here.  The District may provide the written determination of the final outcome to the complainant and the alleged perpetrator concurrently.  Title IX does not require the school to notify the alleged perpetrator of the outcome before it notifies the complainant.  
 
The complainant shall be informed of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint, if any, that are directly related to the complainant, such as a recommendation that the accused not contact the complainant.  Information included in the final outcome letters to the parties will be governed by state and federal law and, if applicable, the District’s commitment to keeping personnel matters confidential. The complainant shall not be informed of the details of any recommended disciplinary action without the consent of the respondent except as permissible by law. The complainant may be notified generally of referrals for disciplinary action.  The District’s commitment to keeping personnel matters confidential will be balanced against the District’s Title IX obligations.    
 
FERPA generally prohibits the nonconsensual disclosure of personally identifiable information from a student’s “education record.” However, FERPA permits a school to disclose to the harassed student information about the sanction .
 
VI.  Sanctions
  Sanctions for individuals found responsible for discrimination, harassment or retaliation include but are not limited to:
  1. Student suspension and/or expulsion
  2. Employment suspensions and/or termination
  3. Counseling, Training, Restorative practices any sanctions set forth in Board Policies, Education Code, or Employment Contract
Procedures for Informal Resolution
 
BUSD encourages informal resolution options when the parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively, or when inappropriate behavior does not rise to the level of violation of Board Policy as determined by the Coordinator but nonetheless is adversely affecting the workplace or educational environment.
 
Informal resolution may include an inquiry into the facts, but typically does not rise to the level of an investigation.  Informal resolution includes but is not limited to options such as referral to another school, office or program, mediation, separation of the parties, referral of the parties to counseling programs, or conducting targeted educational and training programs.
 
Situations that are resolved through informal resolution are usually subject to follow-up after a period of time to assure that resolution has been implemented effectively.
 
Steps taken by the Coordinator to help the parties achieve informal resolution will be documented.  
Some reports of discrimination or harassment, including but not limited to forcible sex offenses, may not be appropriate for informal resolution
Procedures for Formal Investigation
 
You do not have to attempt informal resolution prior to filing a formal complaint  
 
Upon receipt of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will review the complaint and determine if the allegations state a potential violation of the District’s antidiscrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, stalking or retaliation policies.

If the complaint violates anti-discrimination, sexual misconduct, harassment, bullying, intimidation, stalking or retaliation, or in cases where the complainant does not wish to engage in informal resolution, where informal resolution is not appropriate, or in cases where attempts at informal resolution are unsuccessful, the Title IX Coordinator may conduct a formal investigation.

In cases where there is no written complaint, the Coordinator, may initiate an investigation after making a preliminary inquiry into the facts, and will inform the person(s) who were allegedly harmed of the decision to initiate an investigation.   

  1. If the allegations if substantiated would not constitute a violation of the Districts’s anti-discrimination, harassment, Bullying, intimidation, stalking or retaliation policies, the Coordinator will notify the complainant and the respondent concurrently that the investigation is closed.  The Coordinator will provide the notice within five working days of receipt of the complaint.  The decision to close the investigation may be appealed in writing. The appeal is filed with the Coordinator.  The appeal and investigation file will be forwarded to the Superintendent who is the final decision maker.  The Coordinator will notify the non-appealing party of the appeal. The  Superintendent will notify the complainant and the respondent of his/her decision within five working days of receipt of the appeal. The Superintendent decision is final.   
  2. If the Coordinator determines the allegations if substantiated would constitute a violation of the District's’s anti-discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, stalking or retaliation policies, within ten working days of receipt of a written complaint or report and if the Coordinator has not already met with the complainant, will schedule an intake meeting with the complainant.  The purpose of the meeting is to provide the complainant with a general understanding of these procedures and if applicable, to identify forms of support or immediate intervention available to the complainant if applicable and to gather information relevant to the complaint from the complainant.  The intake meeting will also involve a discussion of any accommodations that may be appropriate concerning the complainant's academic,  including but not limited to rescheduling of exams, arranging for independent study or transfer to another class, or or employment arrangements.
  3. Within five working days of the intake meeting with the complainant, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the accused with written notice of the complaint.  The notice will include a copy of the complaint or will otherwise inform the accused of the substance of the allegations and these procedures or information on where the procedures are available, applicable District policies, or notice of where to obtain them, an opportunity for the accused to provide a written response to the complaint using the appropriate response FORM, date, time and place of the intake meeting and instructions on who to contact if the respondent needs to reschedule the intake meeting. 
  4. Upon the in-take completion of both the complainant and accused, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct interviews with witnesses, gather additional documentation, information, artifacts relevant to the complaint. Followed by a credibility assessment, findings of fact and analysis, conclusion and outcomes and compilation of investigation report.