Grievance Process

Grievance Process

The Grievance Process is the process by which a formal complaint of sexual harassment is addressed equitably and promptly under Title IX and in a manner that ensures due process for the complainant and the respondent. The District’s Title IX policy ensures the fair implementation of the grievance process, which requires the following:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, Informal Process Facilitator and/or Decision Maker(s) involved in the grievance process are unbiased, impartial and free from conflicts of interest in executing their role in the process.
  2. Complainants and respondents are treated equitably by recognizing the need for complainants to receive remedies where a respondent is determined responsible and for respondents to face disciplinary sanctions only after a fair process determines responsibility.
  3. An objective evaluation of all relevant evidence – including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence – and provide that credibility determinations may not be based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness.
  4. Notice to the Complainant, Respondent and witnesses that they do not knowingly provide false information or statements and, if so, that individual would be subject to possible disciplinary action under District policy, employee or student code of conduct.
  5. The presumption that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process. 
  6. Reasonably prompt time frames for the conclusion of the grievance process.
  7. Informs all parties of critical information about the school’s procedures including the range of remedies and disciplinary sanctions a school may impose, the standard of evidence applied by the school to all formal complaints of sexual harassment under Title IX (which must be either the preponderance of the evidence standard, or the clear and convincing evidence standard), the school’s appeal procedures, and the range of supportive measures available to both parties.
  8. Protects any legally recognized privilege from being pierced during a grievance process.
  9. Requires written notice of the allegations to both parties, including informing the parties of the right to select an advisor of choice.
  10. Materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process, must not rely on sex stereotypes and must promote impartial investigations and adjudications of formal complaints of sexual harassment. 

A school’s treatment of a complainant, or a respondent, could constitute sex discrimination prohibited under Title IX.  Under this policy, the grievance process will ensure that complainants and respondents receive due process and are treated equitably.  An investigation will begin promptly following the receipt of a formal complaint with appropriate written notice being delivered to both the Complainant and Respondent and containing all required information as outlined under Title IX (i.e. stating the allegations, what district policies are alleged to have been violated, investigator (s), and overview of what to expect in the investigation process.) The standard of proof that will be applied, analyzing all of the relevant evidence in a grievance process, is [insert preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing].   

Following the stated requirements in the grievance process, the school will promptly initiate an inquiry into a formal complaint in a manner that: 

  1. Keeps the burden of proof and burden of gathering evidence on the school while protecting every party’s right to consent to the use of the party’s own medical, psychological, and similar treatment records;  
  2. Provides the parties equal opportunity to present fact and expert witnesses and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence; 
  3. Does not restrict the parties from discussing the allegations or gathering evidence;
  4. Communicates that the Complainant can withdraw the formal complaint at any time prior to a final outcome determination by the decision-maker;
  5. Communicates that the Complainant and Respondent are not required to participate in the grievance process;  
  6. Gives the parties equal opportunity in a live hearing to select an advisor of the party’s choice (who may be, but does not need to be, an attorney);  
  7. Before reaching a determination regarding responsibility, required the decision-maker(s) to allow each party the opportunity to submit written, relevant questions that a party wants asked of any party or witness, provide each party with the answers, and allow for additional, limited follow-up questions from each party.
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