Any person who believes that s/he has been discriminated against or denied equal opportunity or access to programs or services may file a complaint, which may be referred to as a grievance, with the District’s Civil Rights Coordinator, Director of State/Federal Programs, 3275 Lincoln Avenue, St. Joseph, MI 49085, 269-926-3100.
A person who believes s/he has a valid basis for a complaint, may discuss the matter informally and on an oral basis with the District’s Civil Rights Coordinator, who will investigate the complaint and reply with an answer to the complainant. If the information procedures do not resolve the matter to the complainant’s satisfaction, or s/he skips the informal process, s/he may initiate formal procedures according to the following steps:
Investigation by the District Civil Rights Coordinator: A person may initiate a formal investigation by filing a written complaint with the District Civil Rights Coordinator. The complaint must contain the name and address of the individual or representative filing the complaint, be signed by the complainant or someone authorized to sign in sufficient detail to inform the Civil Rights Coordinator of the nature and date of the alleged violation, and propose a resolution. The complaint must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the circumstances or even giving rise to the complaint, unless the time for filing is extended by the Civil Rights Coordinator for good cause. The Civil Rights Coordinator will conduct an impartial investigation of the complaint. As part of the investigation, the Civil Rights Coordinator shall interview any witnesses and review other evidence provided by the complainant. The investigation shall be completed within ten (10) business days of the written complaint being filed. The Civil Rights Coordinator will notify the complainant in writing of his/her decision and will maintain the District’s files and records relating to the complaint.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the Civil Rights Coordinator’s Step 1 decision, s/he may submit in writing, a signed statement of appeal to the Superintendent of Schools within five (5) business days after receipt of the Coordinator’s response. The Superintendent shall meet with all parties involved, formulate a conclusion, and respond in writing to the complainant within ten (10) business days of receiving the written appeal.
If the complainant remains unsatisfied, s/he may appeal through a signed written statement to the Board of Education within five (5) business days of his/her receipt of the Superintendent’s response in Step 2. In an attempt to resolve the complaint, the Board shall meet with the concerned parties and their representative within twenty (20) business days of the receipt of such an appeal. A copy of the Board’s disposition of the appeal shall be sent to each concerned party within ten (10) business days of this meeting.
PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION
The Board will not discriminate against, coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with any individual because the person opposed any act or practice made unlawful by any Federal civil rights law, or because that individual made a charge, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under those laws or because that individual exercised, enjoyed, aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by those laws.
The complainant may be represented, at his/her own cost, at any of the above-described meetings/hearings.
The right of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint shall not be impaired by the person’s pursuit of other remedies such as the filing of a Complaint with the Office of Civil Rights or the filing of a court case in the appropriate Federal District Court. Use of this internal complaint procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.
The individual may also, at any time, contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Cleveland Office, 600 Superior Avenue East, Suite 750, Cleveland, Ohio 44114-2611; Telephone: (216) 522-49790; Fax: (216) 522-2573; TDD: (216) 522-4944; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr