Guide to Addressing Complaints
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board of Education is devoted to providing the best possible education for all of our students. In particular, the SMMUSD:
The SMMUSD places great emphasis on hiring well-qualified professional staff and places trust in its employees to advance the District’s educational mission. When a concern arises about a particular situation, it is desirable whenever possible to address the concern by approaching the responsible individual, discussing the concern, and trying to find a remedy without requiring formal administrative review. If that does not work, the Board of Education has adopted formal complaint procedures to address student, parent, and community concerns. Every effort will be made to resolve complaints in a manner that advances the educational mission of the SMMUSD.
- is dedicated to providing safe, secure, thriving school environments that promote respect for individuals, principles of fairness, and a sense of belonging;
- is committed to equal opportunity in education for all individuals regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics;
- views the “Williams Settlement” (which grew out of a lawsuit to ensure access to textbooks and instructional materials, well-maintained school facilities, and students being taught by qualified teachers) and related state legislation as consistent with our mission to provide a quality education to all students;
- is committed to the best possible educational practices and materials to enable all of our students to succeed.
Due to differences in regulations, there are different forms for different types of complaints. All of the forms are available in the district/school offices and at www.smmusd.org through the link to “Complaints” or “Forms.” All completed forms may be mailed, faxed or delivered by hand to the school or the district office.
- If the complaint is directed toward a District employee, and if that complaint regards alleged unlawful discrimination, the individual should file a Uniform Complaint Form. Before filing such a complaint, individuals are encouraged to speak to the employee and/or the immediate supervisor. If the concern is still not resolved, then it should be addressed in writing to the SMMUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.
- If the complaint is directed toward a District employee and does not involve potential unlawful discrimination, the person should file a Complaint Against an Employee Form. Before filing such a complaint, individuals are encouraged to speak to the employee and/or the immediate supervisor (the principal is the supervisor in all schools). If the concern is still not resolved, then the written complaint should be given to the immediate supervisor of the employee.
- If the complaint concerns inadequate textbooks or instructional materials, a teacher vacancy or an improperly credentialed teacher, conditions of the facility, or lack of support in helping a student to pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), then the person should complete a Williams Complaint Procedure Form. The form should be addressed to the SMMUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.
- If the complaint concerns instructional materials to which a parent or community member objects, then the parent may file a Citizen's Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Form. The form should be addressed to the SMMUSD Superintendent.
- To file a complaint regarding a district employee or other person suspected of child abuse or neglect, parents/guardians may file a report by telephone, in person, or in writing with the police or sheriff’s department, or by calling the Los Angeles County Child Protection Hot Line at 800-540-4000. If a parent/guardian makes a complaint about an employee to any other employee, the employee receiving the information shall notify the parent/guardian of procedures for filing a complaint with the appropriate agency. The employee also is obligated to file a report himself/herself using the procedures described above.
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
Notice to Students Regarding Disability Harassment
Students and/or school district staff shall not harass another person on campus or at a school activity. Disability harassment is a form of discrimination and intimidation, and may result in disciplinary or other action taken by the District.
If you felt that you are being, or have been, subjected to, disability harassment, you need to immediately contact your teacher or any other school or District employee.
Any student who engages in any type of harassment may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. Any employee who allows or engages in harassment may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. The Board expects students and/or staff to report incidents of harassment as soon as possible to the principal or to a responsible member of the staff who will help the complainant (the person making the complaint) make a report. Complaints of harassment can be filed in accordance with the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures. Someone filing a written complaint that alleges violations of disability discrimination may also pursue civil law remedies, including, but not limited to, in junctions, restraining orders, or other remedies or orders.
The District prohibits retaliatory behavior against any person making a complaint of harassment or any participant in the complaint process. Each complaint of harassment shall be promptly investigated and reports filed with the District.
Disability harassment is intimidation or abusive behavior toward a student (because of a disability or an impairment) that creates a hostile environment and interferes with or denies a student’s participation in or receipt of benefits, services, or opportunities in the District’s programs or activities. A hostile environment is created when harassment is severe, persistent or pervasive. Disability harassment includes any unwelcome verbal, written or physical conduct, directed at the characteristics of a person’s disability or impairment, such as imitating manner of speech or movement, interference with necessary equipment, or exclusion from activities. Harassment of a student based on disability may decrease the student’s ability to benefit from his/her education and amount to a denial of Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Failure to respond adequately to disability harassment constitutes discrimination, in violation of Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Reference BP 5145.10 and AR 5145.10
E 5145.10 Complaint Form