William S. Hart Union High School District

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Complaint Procedures

For alleged discrimination, harassment or violation of a federal or state law or regulation.

Compliance Officers
The Governing Board designates the following compliance officers to receive and investigate complaints and ensure District compliance with law:

Michael Vierra, Ph.D.
Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources

Dr. Mariane Doyle
Director of Human Resources and Equity Services
Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator

21380 Centre Pointe Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA 91350
(661) 259-0033

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that employees designated to investigate complaints are knowledgeable about the laws and programs for which they are responsible. Such employees may have access to legal counsel as determined by the Superintendent or designee.

(cf. 9124 - Attorney)

What is a complaint?
A complaint is a written statement alleging discrimination, harassment, or a violation of a federal or state law or regulation. A complaint must be filed by way of the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) as written in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 4600-4687.
The following document describes the process in filing a complaint. Topics include referring complaint issues, local educational agency responsibilities, district policies and procedures, filing a local complaint, time lines, appealing local agency decisions, department resolution procedures, the on-site investigation process, and California Department of Education investigation procedures and investigation report.
Williams Complaint Procedures
A Williams Complaint, another type of UCP complaint, regards instructional materials, emergency or urgent facilities conditions that pose a threat to the health and safety of pupils, and teacher vacancy or misassignment and may be filed anonymously. Williams Complaints are filed with the principal, or their designee, of the school in which the complaint arises. Schools have complaint forms available for these types of complaints, but will not reject a complaint if the form is not used as long as the complaint is submitted in writing. If a Williams Complaint requirement is allegedly not being met, a Williams Complaint form may be obtained at a school office or an agency/district office.
Title IX
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
For more information for filing a Title IX complaint with the District, please access the Title IX page here: https://www.hartdistrict.org/apps/pages/title-ix

Scope of Title IX
Title IX applies to institutions that receive federal financial assistance from ED, including state and local educational agencies. These agencies include approximately 16,500 local school districts, 7,000 postsecondary institutions, as well as charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums. Also included are vocational rehabilitation agencies and education agencies of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories and possessions of the United States.

Educational programs and activities that receive ED funds must operate in a nondiscriminatory manner. Some key issue areas in which recipients have Title IX obligations are: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Also, a recipient may not retaliate against any person for opposing an unlawful educational practice or policy, or made charges, testified or participated in any complaint action under Title IX. For a recipient to retaliate in any way is considered a violation of Title IX. The ED Title IX regulations (Volume 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 106) provide additional information about the forms of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

How to File a Title IX Complaint
For directions on filing a Title IX complaint, visit the following link to the US Office of Civil Rights website. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html
The California Dept. of Education Office for Equal Opportunity is responsible for ensuring compliance with State and Federal civil rights laws and regulations, Title IX, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Section 504, and Methods of Administration (MOA) in CDE employment and delivery of education services. For more information, visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/di/or/oeo.asp

Any staff member, parent, student, community member or applicant who has a complaint regarding an employee, a district policy, or other condition of the William S. Hart Union High School District may submit the complaint by completing the District Complaint form and filing it with the school principal or appropriate District administrator. Details of the process are explained on the form. Note: If the complaint alleges an issue of discrimination or failure to comply with certain specified State of Federal laws, please also review the Uniform Complaint Procedure to determine which form to use. The District encourages the early, informal resolution of complaints at the site level when appropriate and whenever possible. Contact the school office to reach the appropriate administrator.
Uniform Complaint Procedures
Except as the Governing Board may otherwise specifically provide in other Board policies, the uniform complaint procedures shall be used only to investigate and resolve complaints alleging violations of federal or state laws or regulations governing specific educational programs, the prohibition against requiring students to pay fees, deposits, or other charges for participating in educational activities, and unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, as specified in accompanying Board policy.

(cf. 1312.1 - Complaints Concerning District Employees)
(cf. 1312.2 - Complaints Concerning Instructional Materials)
(cf. 1312.4 - Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures)
(cf. 4031 - Complaints Concerning Discrimination in Employment)

The District's uniform complaint procedures policy and administrative regulation shall be posted in all District schools and offices, including staff lounges and student government meeting rooms. If 15 percent or more of students enrolled in a particular District school speak a single primary language other than English, the District's policy, regulation, forms, and notices concerning uniform complaint procedures shall be translated into that language. (Education Code 234.1, 48985)

(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)

The Superintendent or designee shall annually provide written notification of the District's uniform complaint procedures to students, employees, parents/guardians, the District advisory committee, school advisory committees, appropriate private school officials or representatives, and other interested parties. (Education Code 262.3, 49013; 5 CCR 4622)

(cf. 0420 - School Plans/Site Councils)
(cf. 1220 - Citizen Advisory Committees)
(cf. 3260 - Fees and Charges)
(cf. 4112.9/4212.9/4312.9 - Employee Notifications)
(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)

The notice shall:
  1. Identify the person(s), position(s), or unit(s) responsible for receiving complaints
  2. Advise the complainant of any civil law remedies that may be available to him/her under state or federal discrimination laws, if applicable
  3. Advise the complainant of the appeal process, including, if applicable, the complainant's right to take a complaint directly to the California Department of Education (CDE) or to pursue remedies before civil courts or other public agencies
  4. Include statements that:
    1. The District has the primary responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs.
    2. The complaint review shall be completed within 60 calendar days from the date of receipt of the complaint unless the complainant agrees in writing to an extension of the timeline.
    3. A complaint alleging unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying must be filed not later than six months from the date it occurred, or six months from the date the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
    4. The complainant has a right to appeal the District's decision to the CDE by filing a written appeal within 15 calendar days of receiving the District's decision.
    5. The appeal to the CDE must include a copy of the complaint filed with the District and a copy of the District's decision.
    6. Copies of the District's uniform complaint procedures are available free of charge.
All complaints shall be investigated and resolved within 60 calendar days of the District's receipt of the complaint. (5 CCR 4631)

Compliance officers shall maintain a record of each complaint and subsequent related actions, including all information required for compliance with 5 CCR 4631 and 4633. All parties involved in allegations shall be notified when a complaint is filed, when a complaint meeting or hearing is scheduled, and when a decision or ruling is made.

Step 1: Filing of Complaint
Any individual, public agency, or organization may file a written complaint of alleged noncompliance with federal or state laws or regulations governing educational programs. (5 CCR 4630)

Complaint(s) alleging unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying may be filed by a person who alleges that he/she personally suffered unlawful discrimination harassment, intimidation, or bullying or by a person who believes that an individual or any specific class of individuals has been subjected to unlawful discrimination. The complaint shall be initiated no later than six months from the date when the alleged discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying occurred, or six months from the date when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying. However, upon written request by the complainant, the Superintendent or designee may extend the filing period for up to 90 calendar days. (5 CCR 4630)

A complaint alleging noncompliance with the law regarding the prohibition against requiring students to pay student fees, deposits, and charges may be filed anonymously if the complaint provides evidence or information leading to evidence to support an allegation of noncompliance. (Education Code 49013)

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.
If a complainant is unable to put a complaint in writing due to conditions such as illiteracy or a disability, District staff shall help him/her to file the complaint. (5 CCR 4600)

Step 2: Mediation
Within three business days of receiving the complaint, the compliance officer may informally discuss with all the parties the possibility of using mediation. If the parties agree to mediation, the compliance officer shall make all arrangements for this process.

Before initiating the mediation of a complaint alleging discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, the compliance officer shall ensure that all parties agree to make the mediator a party to related confidential information.

If the mediation process does not resolve the problem within the parameters of law, the compliance officer shall proceed with his/her investigation of the complaint.
The use of mediation shall not extend the District's timelines for investigating and resolving the complaint unless the complainant agrees in writing to such an extension of time. (5 CCR 4631)

Step 3: Investigation of Complaint
Within 10 calendar days of receiving the complaint, the compliance officer shall provide the complainant and/or his/her representative an opportunity to present the complaint and any evidence, or information leading to evidence, to support the allegations in the complaint. The compliance officer also shall collect all documents and interview all witnesses with information pertinent to the complaint.

Refusal of the complainant to provide the investigator with documents or other evidence related to the allegations in the complainant, 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. (5 CCR 4631)

In accordance with law, the District shall provide the investigator with access to records and other information related to the allegation in the complaint and shall not in any way obstruct the investigation. Failure or refusal of the District to cooperate in the investigation may result in a finding based on evidence collected that a violation has occurred and in the imposition of a remedy in favor of the complainant. (5 CCR 4631)

Step 4: Response
Within 30 working 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 5 below. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the compliance officer's decision, he/she may, within five days, file his/her complaint in writing with the 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 60-day 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 is 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 initial receipt of the complaint or within the time period that has been specified in a written agreement with the complainant. (5 CCR)

Step 5: Final Written Decision
The report of the District's decision shall be written in English and, when required by Education Code 48985, in the primary language of the complainant

(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)

The report will contain the following elements: (5 CCR 4631)
  1. The findings of fact based on the evidence gathered
  2. Conclusion of law
  3. Disposition of the complaint
  4. The rationale for such a disposition
  5. Corrective actions, if any are warranted
  6. Notice of the complainant's right to appeal the District's decision within 15 calendar days to the California Department of Education and procedures to be followed for initiating such an appeal
In addition, any decision concerning a discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying complaint based on state law shall include a notice that the complainant must wait until 60 calendar days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the CDE before pursuing civil law remedies. (Education Code 262.3)

If a student or an employee is disciplined as a result of the complaint, this report shall simply state that effective action was taken and that the student or employee was informed of District expectations. The report shall not give any further information as to the nature of the disciplinary action.

If a complaint alleging noncompliance with the laws regarding student fees, deposits, and other charges is found to have merit, the District shall provide a remedy to all affected students and parents/guardians, which, where applicable, shall include reasonable efforts to ensure full reimbursement to them. (Education Code 49013)

Appeals to the California Department of Education
If dissatisfied with the District's decision, the complainant may appeal in writing to the California Department of Education. The complainant shall file his/her appeal within 15 calendar days of receiving the District's decision and the appeal shall specify the basis for the appeal of the decision and whether the facts are incorrect and/or the law has been misapplied. The appeal shall be accompanied by a copy of the locally filed complaint and a copy of the District's decision. (5 CCR 4632)

Upon notification by the CDE that the complainant has appealed the District's decision, the Superintendent or designee shall forward the following documents to the CDE: (5 CCR 4633)
  1. A copy of the original complaint
  2. A copy of the decision
  3. A summary of the nature and extent of the investigation conducted by the District, if not covered by the decision
  4. A copy of the investigation file including, but not limited to, all notes, interviews, and documents submitted by the parties and gathered by the investigator
  5. A report of any action taken to resolve the complaint
  6. A copy of the District's uniform complaint procedures
  7. Other relevant information requested by the CDE
The CDE may directly intervene in a complaint without waiting for action by the District when one of the conditions listed in 5 CCR 4650 exists, including when the District has not taken action within 60 calendar days of the date the complaint was filed with the district. (5 CCR 4650)

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 complaints alleging discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on state law, a complainant shall wait until 60 calendar days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the CDE before pursuing civil law remedies, provided 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. The moratorium does not apply to injunctive relief and to discrimination complaints based on federal law. (Education Code 262.3)

Non Discrimination Policy

The William S. Hart Union High School District prohibits unlawful discrimination against and / or harassment of any student, employee or job applicant on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, immigration status, ancestry, religion, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or sexual orientation at any District site and / or activity.
District programs and facilities, viewed in their entirety, shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities.
The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that interested persons, including those with impaired vision and hearing, can obtain information about available programs, facilities, and activities available.
Individuals with disabilities shall notify the Superintendent or principal if they have a disability that requires special assistance or services. Reasonable notification should be given prior to the school sponsored function, program or meeting. The Superintendent or designee shall notify students, parents/guardians, employees, employee organizations and applicants for admission and employment, and sources of referral for applicants about the District's policy on nondiscrimination. Such notification shall be included in each announcement, bulletin, catalog, application form or other recruitment materials distributed to these groups.
The Superintendent or designee shall also provide information about related complaint procedures.
In compliance with law, the District's nondiscrimination policy shall be published in the individual's primary language.
Santa Clarita, California
Date Issued: 08/11/93
Reissued: October 2019