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Board Policies

Updated

Last Updated Date: 08/22/2023

Adoption Date: 06/22/2021

Revision History: 10/26/21(updated), 10/11/22 (updated), 8/22/23 (updated), 9/26/23 (reviewed)

Filing a Complaint

An individual who believes that the individual has been harassed or bullied may file a complaint with the Director of Equity and Employee Relations (EER) or the Executive Director of Diversity and Cultural Responsiveness. The complaint form is available at Complaint Form.  If the complainant is a school employee, after filing the complaint with the superintendent or superintendent's designee, the employee may separately notify the parent or guardian of the student alleged to have been harassed or bullied.

An alternate investigator will be designated in the event it is claimed that the EER Director committed the alleged bullying or harassment 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 Complainant shall receive assistance as needed.

Investigation

The school district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying or harassment upon receipt of written complaint. The investigation shall begin within 15 working days of receiving the complaint. Laura Gray, Executive Director of Diversity and Cultural Responsiveness (programs), gray.laura@iowacityschools.org or Eric Howard, Director of Equity and Employee Relations (employment), howard.eric@iowacityschools.org, (hereinafter “Investigator”) will be responsible for handling all complaints alleging bullying or harassment. 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.

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 other district official.
    • Employees shall provide accurate, truthful and complete information concerning any complaint or investigation.

The Investigator shall consider the totality of circumstances presented in determining whether conduct objectively constitutes bullying or harassment as defined by Board policy. The Complainant shall receive a status update from the investigator once every 20 working days throughout the course of the investigation.

Within 60 working days, the investigator shall complete the investigation. The Investigator shall issue a written report with respect to the findings, and provide a copy of the report to the appropriate building principal or superintendent or designee if the investigation involved the building principal.

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. Similarly, evidence uncovered in the investigation shall be kept confidential to the extent reasonably possible.

Additional suggestions for administrative procedures regarding this policy include: 

  • Organizing training programs for students, school employees, and volunteers regarding how to recognize bullying and harassing behavior and what to do if this behavior is witnessed; and
  • Developing a process for evaluating the effectiveness of this policy in reducing bullying and harassing behavior. 

Decision

Within five (5) working days of completing the written report, the investigator, building principal or superintendent or designee, depending on the individuals involved, shall inform the Complainant and the accused about the outcome of the investigation. 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 direction 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 investigator 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 investigator 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 investigator to gather additional information.

The superintendent or designee shall notify the Complainant, Respondent, and investigator of the decision within 5 working days of the decision. Additional notification, such as in-person or email, may be made to supplement U.S. mail notification.

The decision of the superintendent or designee shall be final.

If, after an investigation, a student is found to be in violation of the policy, the student shall be disciplined by appropriate measures, which may include suspension and expulsion. If after an investigation a school employee is found to be in violation of this policy, the employee shall be disciplined by appropriate measures, which may include termination. If after an investigation a school volunteer is found to be in violation of this policy, the volunteer shall be subject to appropriate measures, which may include exclusion from school grounds.

False Claims or Retaliation

Individuals who knowingly file false bullying and/or harassment complaints and any person who gives false statements in an investigation may be subject to discipline by appropriate measures, as shall any person who is found to have retaliated against another in violation of this policy. Any student found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, suspension and expulsion. Any school employee found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, termination of employment. Any school volunteer found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, exclusion from school grounds.

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