Boulder Valley School District

AC-R

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  • Foundations and Basic Commitments
AC-R

File: AC-R (pdf)
Adopted: May 11, 1995
Revised: October 10, 2019, June 11, 2024


NONDISCRIMINATION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
(Complaint/Grievance and Compliance Process)

The School District encourages reporting of complaints of discrimination and harassment and has adopted the following procedures to promptly and fairly address such complaints and concerns, including complaints of sex-based harassment. Due to changes to federal law, reports of sex-based harassment regarding incidents that took place between August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2024, that shall be processed consistent with Board Policy AC-R2.

Reporting Discrimination and Harassment

All individuals impacted by or who have witnessed acts of discrimination or harassment in the School District’s programs or activities are encouraged to promptly report the incident to an administrator or supervisor and/or by completing the District’s AC-E2 reporting form.

General Procedure

Upon receiving an allegation that, if proven true, constitutes discrimination or harassment under this Policy, the Compliance Officer or Designee will meet with the Complainant as soon as is reasonably possible, typically within 10 school or work days, following the School District's receipt of the complaint/grievance (unless otherwise agreed) in order to discuss supportive measures, obtain a clear understanding of the nature of the complaint/grievance, and to discuss what action the Complainant may be seeking.

During this initial conference, the Compliance Officer or Designee shall explain: 

  • the avenues for resolution, including informal and formal 
  • the complaint/grievance process.
  • the School District’s obligation by law, regardless of whether the individual files a formal written complaint/grievance or otherwise requests action, to take steps to correct and prevent discrimination or harassment against anyone who makes a report or participates in an investigation. 
  • that any request for confidentiality shall be honored so long as doing so does not preclude the School District from responding effectively to prohibited conduct and preventing future prohibited conduct.

Informal Resolution

If the Complainant and the individual alleged to have engaged in the prohibited conduct consent to informal action and the Compliance Officer or Designee believes that the matter is suitable to such resolution, the Compliance Officer or Designee may attempt to resolve the matter informally through mediation, counseling, restorative justice, or other non-disciplinary means. If both parties feel a resolution has been achieved through the informal process, then no further compliance action must be taken. No party shall be compelled to resolve a complaint/grievance of discrimination or harassment informally and either party may request an end to the informal process at any time. 

Formal Resolution

If informal resolution is inappropriate or unsuccessful, the Compliance Officer or Designee (usually the school or department leader) must promptly proceed with an impartial and unbiased investigation into the allegations to determine whether and/or to what extent, discrimination or harassment has occurred. During the investigation, the Compliance Officer or Designee will presume that the Respondent is not responsible for the alleged misconduct until a determination is made at the conclusion of the process.

The Compliance Officer or Designee will objectively evaluate relevant evidence and the following types of information in determining whether discrimination and/or harassment has occurred:

  • Statements by any witness to the alleged incident;
  • Evidence about the relative credibility of the parties involved;
  • Evidence relative to whether the individual alleged to have engaged in the prohibited conduct has been found to have engaged in prohibited conduct against others;
  • Evidence of the Complainant’s and/or alleged victim’s reaction or change in behavior following the alleged prohibited conduct;
  • Evidence about whether the Complainant and/or alleged victim took action to protest the conduct;
  • Evidence and witness statements or testimony presented by the parties involved;
  • Other contemporaneous evidence; and/or
  • Any other evidence deemed relevant by the Compliance Officer or Designee.

Factors to consider under the totality of the circumstances include, but not limited to:  

  • the type, nature, frequency, location, and duration of the conduct; 
  • the relationship between the individuals involved; 
  • whether the conduct or communication is threatening; o the age, education level, and number of individuals involved; 
  • whether any power differential exists between the individual alleged to have engaged in the harassment and the individual alleging the harassment; 
  • use of epithets, slurs, or other conduct or communication that is humiliating or degrading; whether the conduct or communication reflects stereotypes about an individual or group of individuals in a protected class; 
  • the context in which the conduct occurred; and/or, 
  • the effect on the Complainant’s education or employment.

In some cases, a single severe act—such as an act of physical violence—can amount to harassment if the act is based on any class protected by federal and/or Colorado law. Conduct or communication that, at one time, was or is welcome between one or more individuals may become unwelcome to those individuals.

Upon concluding their investigation the Compliance Officer or Designee shall prepare a written report containing findings and recommendations, as appropriate, within 45 school or work days of receipt of the complaint/grievance or 30 school or work days following the termination of the informal resolution process. The Compliance Officer may extend this timeline for good cause with notice to the parties that includes the reason for the extension. The Compliance Officer or Designee shall issue to all parties contemporaneously in writing the final outcome of the investigation and steps taken by the School District to take preventative and corrective action in light of the investigation findings. 

Appeal 

Should the Complainant or Respondent disagree with the findings, they may appeal the decision by submitting a written letter of appeal to the Compliance Officer within 10 school days (for students) or work days (for employees) after receiving notification of the final outcome of the investigation. Grounds for appeal shall be limited in accordance with applicable law, to: 

  1. Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter; 
  2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and 
  3. A conflict of interest or bias for or against the parties that affected the outcome of the matter. 

The written appeal should include any additional evidence to be considered and state with specificity the disagreements with the Designee’s decision. The Compliance Officer shall review the evidence and will notify the parties in writing of a final decision within 10 school or work days after receiving the written appeal. The Compliance Officer’s decision will be final.

Hearing Procedure

For allegations under Section 504 and as otherwise required by law, the Complainant may request a hearing. This hearing procedure will not address guilt or innocence or disciplinary consequences, that shall instead be governed by the Board's discipline policies and procedures.

The hearing officer will be an administrative employee of the School District or other appropriate person designated by the School District. The hearing shall be informal. Students shall be entitled to be represented by their parent/guardian or by an attorney. Employees shall be entitled to be represented by an attorney or other representative of their choice. The Complainant may appear at the hearing and shall be entitled to present testimony and other evidence. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply. The Compliance Officer or Designee may represent the School District at the hearing and shall likewise be entitled to present testimony and other evidence. The hearing shall be closed to the public.

The hearing officer shall make a written recommendation to the Superintendent based upon evidence presented at the administrative hearing. Within 10 school days of receiving the hearing officer's recommendations, the Superintendent or Designee shall determine any remedial or corrective action deemed appropriate.

Remedial or corrective actions shall include measures designed to stop the discrimination or harassment, correct its negative impact on the affected individual, ensure that the conduct does not recur, and restore lost educational opportunities.

Any party not satisfied with a decision made by the Superintendent may present their concerns to the Board. Any action taken by the Board shall be final.

Nothing contained here shall be interpreted to confer upon any person the right to a hearing independent of a Board Policy, administrative procedure, statute, rule, regulation or agreement expressly conferring such right. 

Outside Agencies

In addition to or as an alternative to filing a complaint/grievance pursuant to this Policy, a person may file a discrimination complaint/grievance with outside agencies as identified and listed in Board Policy AC-E1.
 

End of File: AC-R