Title IX Grievance Procedure

HOLLIDAYSBURG AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE FOR TITLE IX

OF THE EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972

AND SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973

 

 

I.                    Filing of Grievances

 

A.                Eligibility for Filing:  Any student or employee, or any individual or group acting in behalf of a student or employee (male or female) may file any grievance of sex discrimination or sexual harassment with the Title IX coordinator.  Any student or employee, or any individual or group acting in behalf of a handicapped student or handicapped employee may file any grievance of discrimination on the basis of a physical or mental handicap with the Section 504 coordinator.

 

B.                  Pre-grievance Contact:  Prior to the submission of a written grievance to a hearing officer, the grievant/s may request pre-grievance contact with the respondent alleged to be directly responsible for the violation, and/or with the persons having immediate supervisory authority related to the grievance.  These persons may make reasonable efforts to meet with the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator to discuss the grievance that the student/s or employee/s wishes to bring to their attention.  Such a pre-grievance contact, however, shall be at the option of the grievant/s; it shall not be a precondition for the submission of a written grievance to a hearing officer.

 

C.                 Grievance Filing:  Grievances filed with the Title IX coordinator or the Section 504 coordinator shall be in writing on a form provided by the coordinator, and shall provide the following information:  name and address of grievant/s; nature of alleged violation; names of persons responsible for the alleged violation (where known); requested relief or corrective action (specification of desired relief shall be at the option of the grievant); and, any background information the grievant believes to be relevant (e.g., names or groups of other persons affected by the violation,  etc.)

 

D.                Grievance Forms:  A grievance form (see next page) shall be prepared by the grievant and the Title IX coordinator or the Section 504 coordinator who will facilitate the filing of the grievance.  These forms may be obtained from the Title IX coordinator or from the Section 504 coordinator.  The grievant shall have the right to request assistance from the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator or any other individual, group, or organization to assist in the preparation of the form or in the filing of the grievance.

 

E.                  Time Limit for Grievance Filing:  A grievance must be filed within 60 days of the occurrence of the alleged Title IX violation or the alleged Section 504 violation.

 

F.                  Grievance Provisions:  Prior to filing a grievance, the grievant/s shall be informed of the provisions and their rights, and shall be given a copy of Part V:  General Provisions.


 

Hollidaysburg Area School District

Title IX and Section 504 Grievance Form

 

 

Today’s Date __________________

 

Complainant Name/s ___________________________________________________

                                         Last Name                        First Name            Middle Initial

 

Address _______________________________________________________________

 

City/State ___________________________________    Zip Code _______________

 

Telephone Number ___________________________________

 

Circle One:       Student                     Parent in behalf of student

                        Employee                    Other in behalf of student/employee          

 

Circle One:   Title IX Grievance               Section 504 Grievance

 

Specifics of Complaint (Describe below, including any dates of alleged discrimination.)  Attach an extra page if necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you wish, please describe any corrective action you would like to see taken with regard to the possible civil rights violation.  Attach an extra page if necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you like a pre-grievance contact with an identified respondent before a decision of a hearing officer is made?  Circle one:           Yes      or        No

 

 

                                                                                    _______________________________

                                                                        Signature of Complainant


Name of Grievant ______________________________________________________

Name of Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator _________________________________

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This section is for use by the Title IX or Section 504 Coordinator.  Check below the course of action to be taken prior to submitting a copy of the grievance form and a copy of this form to the identified respondent or to the respective hearing officer.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

(__)      Pre-grievance Contact:          Date Submitted ______________

 

            __________________________________________________________________________

            Name of Identified Respondent

 

            __________________________________________________________________________

            Due Date for response from person named above

 

(__)      Level I:                        Date Submitted ________________

 

            __________________________________________________________________________

            Name of Hearing Officer                                           Job Title

 

            __________________________________________________________________________

            Due Date for response from person named above

 

(__)      Level II:           Date Submitted ________________

 

            __________________________________________________________________________

            Name of Hearing Officer                                           Job Title

 

            __________________________________________________________________________

            Date of Hearing and Due Date for response from person/s named above

 

(__)      Level III:          Date Submitted __________     Due Date for Hearing ____________

 

            __________________________________________________________________________

            Name of Hearing Officer/s                                       Position Title

 

            __________________________________________________________________________

            Date of Hearing and Due Date for response from person/s named above

 

This section is for use by the identified respondent or hearing officer/s.  Prior to returning this form to the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator, circle your decision regarding the grievance:                                                               DENIED   or  GRANTED

 

If grievance has been granted, explain on another paper and/or circle your decision regarding the corrective action requested by the grievant: 

                        AGREE           or         DISAGREE

 

 

            _________________________________________________________________

            Signature of Identified Respondent/Hearing Officer/s                  Date

 


Definitions

 

A.                Grievance: Grievance means a complaint alleging any policy, procedure, or practice which would be prohibited by Title IX or by Section 504.

 

B.                 Title IX:  Title IX means Title IX of the Education  Amendments of 1972, the 1975 implementing regulation, and any memoranda, directive, guidelines or subsequent legislation that may be issued or enacted.

 

C.                 Section 504:  Section 504 means Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and any memoranda, directive, guidelines or subsequent legislation that may be issued or enacted.

 

D.                Grievant:  Grievant means a student or employee of (name of institution/agency) who submits a grievance relevant to Title IX or to Section 504, or an individual or group submitting a grievance in behalf of a student/s or employee/s.

 

E.                 (Name of institution/agency):  Any reference to (name of institution/agency) means any school, department, subunit or program operated by (name of institution/agency).

 

F.                  Title IX Coordinator:  Title IX Coordinator means the employee/s designated to coordinate (name of institution/agency) efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under the Title IX regulation.

 

G.                Section 504 Coordinator:  Section 504 Coordinator means the employee/s designated to coordinate (name of institution/agency) efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under the Section 504 regulation.

 

H.                Respondent:  Respondent means a person alleged to be responsible or who may be responsible for the Section 504 or the Title IX violation alleged in a grievance.  The term may be used to designate persons with direct responsibility for a particular action or those persons with supervisory responsibility for procedures and policies in those areas covered in the grievance.

 

I.                    Hearing Officer:  Hearing Officer means the representative/s of (name of institution/agency) or of its governing body who is delegated authority for hearing/resolving a grievance at a specified level of grievance processing.

 

J.                    Grievance Answer:  Grievance answer means the written statement of the respondent regarding the grievance allegation and possible corrective action.

 

K.                Grievance Decision:  Grievance decision means the written statement of a hearing officer of his/her findings regarding the validity of the alleged grievance and the corrective action to be taken.

 

L.                 Day:  Day means a working day.  The calculation of days specified in this grievance procedure exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.  Any time limits set by this procedure may be extended, however, by mutual consent of the grievant/s and the respondent/s.

 

M.               Corrective Action:  Corrective action means action which is taken by (name of institution/agency) to eliminate or modify any policy, procedure, or practice found to be in violation of Title IX or Section 504, or to provide redress to any grievant injured by the identified violation.

 


II.                 Initial Processing of Grievances

 

A.                Notification of Respondents:  Within five days of the filing of a grievance, the Title IX coordinator or Section 504 coordinator shall submit a copy of the completed grievance form to the respondent/s, if requested by the grievant.  The respondent/s shall provide a written grievance answer and return the grievance form to the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator within five days after receipt of the grievance.

 

B.                 Respondent’s Grievance Answer:  The respondent/s receiving a copy of a grievance form shall, within five days, submit a written grievance answer to the grievant via the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator.   Such answer shall confirm or deny each fact alleged in the grievance, indicate the extent to which the grievance has merit, or indicate acceptance or rejection of any desired redress specified by the grievant, or outline an alternative proposal for redress.

 

C.                 Referral of Grievance and Grievance Answer to Appropriate Processing Level:  Within five days after receipt of the respondent’s written grievance answer, the Section 504 or Title IX coordinator shall determine the appropriate level for first grievance processing and submit a copy of the grievance form and the respondent’s grievance answer to the appropriate hearing officer.  If no grievance answer has been received from the respondent/s by the fifth day after notification, the Section 504 or Title IX coordinator shall, on the sixth day, immediately submit a copy  of the grievance form to the appropriate hearing officer along with a notice of nonresponse from the respondent.

 

The criteria which shall be used by the Section 504 or Title IX coordinator in determining the appropriate level for first processing of a grievance include:

 

Level I:  Grievance involving policy, procedure or practice of single unit or subunit of agency/institution.

 

Level II:  Grievance involving administrative policy, procedure, or practice of entire agency/institution.

 

Level III: Grievance involving policy for which a governing board is primarily responsible.

 

The hearing officer selected by the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator at each level shall be:

 

Level I: Examples are principal, pupil personnel officer, chairperson of a department, dean of a school, or supervisor of noninstructional staff.

 

Level II: Examples are superintendent, president or executive director of an institution or service area.

 

Level III: Governing board of agency/institution or representative of the governing board.

 

If the grievance is referred directly to Level II or to Level III for first processing, the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator shall briefly write the reason/s for this decision on the form.

 


 

IV.              Grievance Processing Levels

 

A.                Level I:

 

1.      Written grievance decision by Level I hearing officer – When a grievance and, if possible, a grievance answer or nonresponse are referred to Level I for first processing, the Level I hearing officer shall, within five days of referral, submit a written grievance decision to the grievant, and if applicable, the respondent, via the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator.  The decision shall:  1/ confirm or deny each fact alleged in the grievance and in the respondent’s answer; 2/ indicate the extent to which the grievance has merit; or 3/ indicate acceptance or rejection of any redress specified by the grievant or respondent.

 

2.      Acceptance or rejection of hearing decision by the grievant – If the grievant rejects the Level I hearing decision, s/he shall, within ten days of the receipt of the hearing decision, notify the Section 504 or Title IX coordinator of his/her intent to appeal the grievance to Level II.  This notification shall be in writing.  If no such notification is received by the Section 504 or Title IX coordinator within this time period, any corrective action specified in the Level I hearing decision shall be taken, and the grievance will be recorded as closed.

 

3.      No written decision by Level I hearing officer – In the event that no written decision is issued by the Level I hearing officer within five days of referral, the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator shall, on the sixth day, immediately arrange a date for a Level II hearing, and submit the grievance along with a notice of nonresponse from the Level I hearing officer to the Level II hearing officer.

 

B.      Level II:

 

1.      Scheduling of Level II hearing:  notification of participants – Within five days of the grievant’s request to appeal the grievance to Level II, the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator shall arrange a date for a Level II hearing.  The coordinator shall notify the grievant, the respondent if applicable, and the Level II hearing officer of the time, place, and minimum duration of the hearing.  The hearing shall be held within five days after appeal/referral of the grievance to Level II.  If any written materials or records relevant to the grievance are transmitted to the Level II hearing officer by the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator at the time of notification, copies of these materials shall also be transmitted to the grievant and, if applicable, the respondent.

 

2.      Persons present at the Level II hearing – Persons present at the informal hearing shall include the grievant, the respondent, any representative/s of either the grievant or the respondent, any individual requested by either party to provide information relevant to the evaluation of the grievance, and the Level II hearing officer.  The Title IX coordinator or Section 504 coordinator shall be present to act as moderator and recorder.  Hearings shall not be open to other persons unless requested or approved by the grievant.

 

 

 

3.      Procedures governing the conduct of the Level II hearing –

 

a.         Duration:  No hearing shall be less than three hours long, unless all parties consent to a shorter hearing.  The time established for the duration of the hearing shall be allocated in equal parts to the grievant and the respondent.  The Title IX or Section 504 coordinator shall moderate the usage of time.

 

b.         Grievance witnesses: Both the grievant and the respondent shall have the right to present such witnesses as they deem necessary to develop the facts pertinent to the grievance.

 

c.          Questioning of witnesses:  Formal rules of evidence shall not be applied at the Level II grievance hearing.  The grievant and respondent shall have the right to use their allocated time to ask questions of any person participating in the hearing.

 

4.      Level II hearing decision – Within five days after the Level II hearing, the Level II hearing officer shall issue a written decision which includes a statement regarding the validity of the grievance allegation, and a specification of any corrective action to be taken.  This decision shall specify the reasons on which the decision is based.  Copies of the decision shall be sent to the grievant and the respondent via the Section 504 or Title IX coordinator.

 

5.      Acceptance or rejection of hearing decision by the grievant – If the grievant rejects the Level II hearing decision, s/he shall, within ten days of the receipt of the hearing decision, notify the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator of his/her intent to appeal the grievance to Level III.  This notification shall be in writing.  If no such notification is received within this time period, any corrective action specified in the Level II hearing decision shall be taken, and the grievance will be recorded as closed.

 

6.      No written decision by Level II hearing officer – In the event that no written decision is issued by the Level II hearing officer within five days after the Level II hearing, the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator shall, on the sixth day, immediately submit a copy of the grievance form for processing at Level III, along with a formal notification for a Level III hearing, to the governing board of (name of institution/agency) or its designated representative/s.  The grievance form shall also include a notice of nonresponse from the Level II hearing officer.

 

C.     Level III:

 

1.      Grievance hearing conducted by the governing board or the board’s designated representative/s.  Processing activities shall occur on the following schedule:

 

a.            Scheduling of the hearing:  Within five days of the grievant’s request to appeal the grievance to Level III, the Section 504 coordinator or Title IX coo,, , rdinator shall submit to the governing board or its designated representative/s a copy of the grievance and a formal notification requesting a date for the Level III hearing.  The coordinator shall notify the grievant, the respondent, and the Level III hearing officer/s of the time, place, and minimum duration of the hearing to occur within fifteen days after notifying the Level III hearing officer of the grievance.  If any  written materials or records relevant to the grievance are transmitted to the Level III hearing officer/s by the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator prior to the hearing, copies of these materials shall also be transmitted to the grievant and, if applicable, to the respondent.

 

b.            Conducting the hearing:  The hearing shall be scheduled for and conducted on a date not to exceed fifteen days after the appeal/referral of the grievance to Level III.  It should be conducted similar to procedures governing the conduct of the Level II hearing.

 

2.      Level III hearing decision:  The governing board or the board’s designated representative/s of (name of institution/agency) shall issue a written decision which includes a statement regarding the validity of the alleged grievance and a specification of any corrective action to be taken within 15 days of the Level III hearing.  This decision shall constitute the final decision issued pursuant to any grievance.

 

All Level III hearing decisions shall be based on a majority vote by the governing board or its designated representative/s.  Any board member in disagreement with the majority or its designated representative/s shall have the option to prepare a dissenting opinion for inclusion within the final decision.

 

A copy of the decision shall be sent to the grievant and the respondent, if applicable, via the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator.  The (superintendent or chief executive officer of the institution/agency) shall also receive a copy of the decision.

 

3.      Rejection of hearing decision by the grievant – If the grievant rejects the Level III hearing decision, s/he may notify a state or federal agency having civil rights enforcement power.  These agencies are The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the U.S. Office for Civil Rights.  This section is not meant to imply that a grievant must use internal procedures before filing with an outside agency.  Grievants may have the right to file at any time with an outside agency, and may choose to use an agency other than those mentioned in this procedure.

 

V.                 General Provisions

 

A.    Grievant’s Right to Information:  A grievant/s may request access to information and records of (the agency/institution) which relate to the validity of the grievance.  If such requested information requires an unreasonable cost by the agency/institution, such request may be refused provided that the information is not submitted as evidence by the respondent/s, and that this refusal is considered during the grievance hearing.  In order to protect the privacy of persons not directly involved in the grievance proceeding, the agency/institution shall reserve the right to expunge names and any identifying information not directly relevant to the substance of the grievance from any information or records supplied to the grievant.

 

B.      Grievant’s Right to Representation and Assistance:

 

1.      Right to representation – The grievant/s has the right to be represented by knowledgeable persons, organizations, or groups of his/her selection at any point during the initiation, filing, or processing of the grievance.  The Section 504 or Title IX coordinator shall provide help in identifying such knowledgeable persons or groups.

 

2.      Right to assistance – The institution/agency shall provide assistance to grievants, including access to copies of the Title IX or Section 504 regulation, related guidelines, memoranda, and other relevant materials supplied the institution by the federal government as well as access to public grievance records.  In addition, the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator shall provide consultation and assistance in the interpretation of such information and the use of this grievance procedure.

 

C.     Training of Grievance Hearing Officers:  All persons designated as Level I, II and III grievance hearing officers may request training regarding Title IX or Section 504 regulatory requirements and nondiscrimination precedents, and the basic principles and operation of this grievance procedure.  This training shall be arranged by the Title IX or Section 504 coordinator.  The Title IX or Section 504 coordinator may also provide continuing consultation to hearing officers regarding the civil rights requirements and the implementation of this procedure.

 

D.    Confidentiality of Grievance Handling:  Grievant/s shall also have the right to determine whether or not their grievance record shall be open or closed to the public.  Should grievants decide that the grievance record shall be open to the public, they shall have the additional right to have any matter which directly or indirectly identifies the grievant removed from all grievance records or documents open to the public.  No record of grievance shall be entered in the personal file of any student or employee.

 

E.      Maintenance of Grievance Records:  Records shall be kept of each grievance.  These shall include, at minimum:  the name of the grievant and his/her position in (name of institution/agency); the date of grievance filing; the specific allegation made in the grievance and any corrective action requested; the names of respondent; the levels of processing and the resolution, date, and hearing officer/s at each level; a summary of major points, facts, and evidence presented by each party to the grievance; and a statement of the final resolution and the nature and date of any corrective action taken.  Such records shall be maintained on a confidential basis unless otherwise specified by the grievant, and shall be filed for a minimum of three years.

 

F.      Prohibition of Harassment:  No person shall be subjected to discharge, suspension, discipline, harassment, or any form of discrimination for having used or having helped others use this grievance process.

 

G.     Role of the Title IX and Section 504 Coordinator/s:  It is the primary responsibility of the Title IX and Section 504 coordinator/s to ensure the effective installation, maintenance, processing, record keeping, and notification required by this grievance procedure.

 

            H.  Financial Responsibility for Grievance Processing:  All costs involved in the administration of this grievance procedure shall be assumed by (name of institution/agency).