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Board Policies

Updated

Last Updated Date: 10/11/2022

Adoption Date: 06/22/2021

Revision History: 10/26/2021 (updated),10/11/2022 (updated), 9/26/23 (Reviewed)

It is the policy of the Iowa City Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age (for employment), marital status (for programs), sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status (for programs) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a complaint procedure for processing complaints of discrimination.

If you have questions or a complaint related to this policy, please contact Laura Gray, Executive Director of Diversity and Cultural Responsiveness (programs), gray.laura@iowacityschools.org Eric Howard, Director of Equity and Employee Relations (employment), howard.eric@iowacityschools.org, 1725 N. Dodge Street, Iowa City, Iowa 52245, (319) 688-1000. If you are unsure how to proceed or would like assistance in discussing your options, you may also contact Janet Abejo-Parker, Ombuds, ombuds@iowacityschools.org or (319) 688-1312.

Students, parents of students, employees, and applicants for employment in the school district have the right to file a formal complaint alleging discrimination. The district has policies and procedures in place to identify and investigate complaints alleging discrimination. If appropriate, the district will take steps to prevent the recurrence of discrimination and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others.

A Complainant may attempt to resolve the problem informally by discussing the matter with a building principal or a direct supervisor. However, the Complainant has the right to end the informal process at any time and pursue the formal complaint procedures outlined below. Use of the informal or formal complaint procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies. Please note that informal processes and procedures are not to be used in certain circumstances (e.g., sexual harassment and sexual assault).

Filing a Complaint

A Complainant who wishes to avail themselves of this complaint procedure may do so by filing a complaint with the Director of Equity and Employee Relations  (EER). An alternate will be designated in the event it is claimed that the Director of Equity and Employee Relations or superintendent committed the alleged discrimination or some other conflict of interest exists. Complaints shall be filed within 180 days of the event giving rise to the complaint or from the date the Complainant could reasonably become aware of such occurrence. The Complainant will state the nature of the complaint and the remedy requested. The Director of Equity and Employee Relations shall assist the Complainant as needed.

Investigation

Within 15 working days, the Director of Equity and Employee Relations will begin the investigation of the complaint or appoint a qualified person to undertake the investigation. If the Complainant is under 18 years of age, the Director of Equity and Employee Relations shall notify their parent(s)/guardian(s) that they may attend investigatory meetings in which the Complainant is involved. The complaint and identity of the Complainant, Respondent, or witnesses will only be disclosed as reasonably necessary in connection with the investigation or as required by law or policy. The investigation may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • A request for the Complainant to provide a written statement regarding the nature of the complaint;
  • A request for the individual named in the complaint ("Respondent") to provide a written statement;
  • A request for witnesses identified during the course of the investigation to provide a written statement;
  • Interviews of the Complainant, Respondent, or witnesses;
    • Employees shall not refuse to participate in an investigation when requested by HR/EER or another District official.
    • Employees shall provide accurate, truthful and complete information concerning any complaint or investigation
  • An opportunity to present witnesses or other relevant information; and
  • Review and collection of documentation or information deemed relevant to the investigation.

The Complainant and respondent shall receive a status update from the Director of Equity and Employee Relations once every 20 working days throughout the course of the investigation. Within 60 working days, the Director of Equity and Employee Relations shall complete the investigation and issue a report with respect to the findings.

Decision

The Director of Equity and Employee Relations shall notify the Complainant and Respondent of the decision within 5 working days of completing the written report. The Complainant should be notified through an in-person meeting. In addition, notification shall be made by U.S. mail, first class or electronic mail. The Respondent may be notified through an in-person meeting, and must also receive notification through U.S. mail, first class or electronic mail.

In addition, the investigator (if someone other than the principal) will provide the school administration a copy of the investigation report and directions for any needed follow-up or next steps. When appropriate, materials and contract information for additional district offices that can provide support for individuals involved in the complaint or investigation will be provided as part of the close-out process (this should  come from the principal or direct supervisor).

Appeal

The complaint is closed after the Director of Equity and Employee Relations has issued the report, unless within 10 working days after receiving the decision, either party appeals the decision to the superintendent by making a written request detailing why they believe the decision should be reconsidered. The Director of Equity and Employee Relations shall promptly forward all materials relative to the complaint and appeal to the superintendent or designee. Within 30 working days, the superintendent or designee shall affirm, reverse, amend the decision, or direct the Director of Equity and Employee Relations to gather additional information.

The superintendent or designee shall notify the Complainant, Respondent, and the Director of Equity and Employee Relations of the decision within 5 working days of the decision. Notification shall be by U.S. mail, first class. Additional notification, such as an in-person meeting or email, may be made to supplement U.S. mail notification.

The decision of the superintendent or designee shall be final.

Additional Information

The decision of the superintendent in no way prejudices a party from seeking redress through state or federal agencies as provided by in law.

This policy and procedures are to be used for complaints of discrimination, in lieu of any other general complaint policies or procedures that may be available.

If any of the stated timeframes cannot be met by the district, the district will notify the parties and pursue completion as promptly as possible.

Retaliation against any person, because the person has filed a complaint or assisted or participated in an investigation, is prohibited. Persons found to have engaged in retaliation shall be subject to discipline by appropriate measures.

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