SMUHSD Uniform Complaint Procedures
SAN MATEO UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT - 1000
BOARD POLICY 1312.3 Community Relations
Uniform Complaint Procedures
The Board of Trustees recognizes that the district is primarily responsible for complying with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs. The district shall investigate complaints alleging failure to comply with such laws and/or alleging discrimination and shall seek to resolve those complaints in accordance with the district’s uniform complaint procedures. (5 CCR 4620)
The district shall follow uniform complaint procedures when addressing complaints alleging unlawful discrimination against any protected group as identified under Education Code 200 and 220 and Government Code 11135, including actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability, or age or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics in any district program or activity that receives or benefits from state financial assistance. (5 CCR 4610)
Uniform complaint procedures shall also be when addressing complaints alleging failure to comply with State and/or Federal laws in adult education programs, consolidated categorical aid programs, migrant education, career technical and technical education and career technical and technical training programs, child care and development programs, child nutrition programs, and special education programs. (5 CCR 4610)
Complaints related to sufficiency of textbooks or instructional materials, emergency or urgent facilities conditions that pose a threat to the health or safety of students or staff, and teacher vacancies and misassignments shall be investigated pursuant to the district’s Williams uniform complaint procedure. (AR 1312.4)
The Board encourages the early, informal resolution of complaints at the site level whenever possible.
The Board acknowledges and respects every individual’s rights to privacy. Discrimination complaints shall be investigated in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the parties and the integrity of the process. This may include keeping the identity of the complainant confidential, as appropriate and except to the extent necessary to carry out the investigation or proceedings, as determined by the Superintendent or his/her designee, on a case-by-case basis.
The Board prohibits any form of retaliation against any complainant in the complaint process, including but not limited to a complainant’s filing of a complaint or the reporting of instances of discrimination. Such participation shall not in any way affect the status, grades, or work assignments of the complainant.
SAN MATEO UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT:
 AR 1312.3 Community Relations
Uniform Complaint Procedures
The Board of Trustees designates the following compliance officers to receive and investigate complaints and to ensure district compliance with law:
Associate Superintendent Human Resources
650 North Delaware Street
San Mateo, CA 94401-1795
The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that employees designated to investigate complaints are knowledgeable about the laws and programs for which they are responsible. Designated employees may have access to legal counsel as determined by the Superintendent or designee
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 committees, school advisory committees, appropriate private school officials or representatives, and other interested parties. (5 CCR 4622)
The Superintendent or designee shall make available copies of the district’s uniform complaint procedures free of charge. (5 CCR 4622)
The notice shall:
- Identify the person(s), position(s), or unit(s) responsible for receiving complaints.
- Advise the complainant of any civil law remedies that may be available to him/her under state or federal discrimination laws, if applicable.
- Advise the complainant of the appeal process pursuant to Education Code 262.3, including 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.
- Include statements that:
- The district is primarily responsible for compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
- The complaint review shall be completed within 60 calendar days from the date of receipt of the complaint less the complainant agrees in writing to an extension of the timeline.
- An unlawful discrimination complaint must be filed not later than six months from the date the alleged discrimination occurs, or six months from the date the complainant first obtains knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination.
- The complainant has a right to appeal the district’s decision to the CDE by filing a written appeal within 15 days of receiving the district’s decision.
- The appeal to the CDE must include a copy of the complaint filed with the district and a copy of the district’s decision.
Procedures The following procedures shall be used to address all complaints which allege that the district has violated federal or state laws or regulations governing educational programs. 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 by the district. (5 CCR 4630) A complaint alleging unlawful discrimination shall be initiated no later than six months from the date when the alleged discrimination occurred or six months from the date when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged discrimination. A complaint may be filed by a person who alleged that he/she personally suffered unlawful discrimination or by a person who believes that an individual or any specific class of individuals has been subjected to unlawful discrimination. (5 CCR 4630)
The complaint shall be presented to the compliance officer who shall maintain a log of complains 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 disability or illiteracy, district staff shall assist him/her in the filing of the complaint. (5 CCR 4600)
Step 2: Investigation of Complaint
The compliance officer is encouraged to hold an investigative meeting within seven days of receiving the complaint or an unsuccessful attempt to mediate the complaint. This meeting shall provide an opportunity for the complainant and/or his/her representative to repeat the complaint orally.
The complainant and/or his/her representative shall have an opportunity to present the complaint and evidence or information leading to evidence to support the allegations in the complaint. (5 CCR 463)
A complainant’s refusal to provide the district’s investigator with documents or other evidence related to the allegations in the complaint, or his/her failure or refusal to cooperate in the investigation or his/her engagement in any other obstruction of the investigation may result in the dismissal of the complaint because of a lack of evidence to support the allegation. (5 CCR 4631)
The district’s refusal to provide the investigator with access to records and/or other information related to the allegation in the complaint, or its failure or refusal to cooperate in the investigation or its engagement in any other obstruction of the investigation, may result in a finding, based on evidence collected, that a violation has occurred and may result in the imposition of a remedy in favor of the complainant. (5 CCR 4631)
Unless extended by written agreement with the complainant, the compliance officer shall prepare and send to the complainant a written report of the district's investigation and decision, as described in Step #4 below, within 60 days of the district’s receipt of the complaint. (C CCR 4631)
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 shall be 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 the complaint or within the time period that has been specified In a written agreement with the complainant. (5 CCR 4631)
Final Written Decision
The district's decision shall be writing and sent to the complainant. (5 CCR 4631)
The district’s decision shall be written in English and in the language of the complainant whenever feasible or required by law.
This decision shall include:
- The findings of fact based on the evidence gathered. (5 CCR 4631)
- The conclusion(s) of law. (5 CCR 4631)
- Disposition of the complainant. (5 CCR 4631)]
- Rationale for such disposition. (5 CCR 4631)
- Corrective actions, if any. (5 CCR 4631)
- Notice of the complainant's right to appeal the district’s decision within 15 days to the California Department of Education and procedures to be followed for initiating such an appeal. . (5 CCR 4631)
- For discrimination complaints, notice that the complainant must wait until 60 days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the CDE before pursuing civil law remedies. (Education Code 262.3)
If an employee is disciplined as a result of the complaint, the decision shall simply state that effective action was taken and that the employee was informed of district expectations. The report shall not give any further information as to the nature of the disciplinary action.
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 within 15 days of receiving the district's decision. When appealing to the California Department of Education, the complainant must 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 4633)
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)
- A copy of the original complaint.
- A copy of the decision.
- A summary of the nature and extent of the investigation conducted by the district, if not covered by the decision.
- 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.
- A report of any action taken to resolve the complaint.
- A copy of the district’s complaint procedures.
- Other relevant information requested by the CDE.
The CDE may directly intervene in the complaint without waiting for action by the district when one of the conditions listed in 5 CCR 4650 exists, including cases in which the district has not taken action within 60 days of the date the complaint was filed with the district.
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 limited to, injunctions, restraining orders. For discrimination complaints, however, a complainant must wait until 60 days have elapsed from the filing of an appeal with the California Department of Education before pursuing civil law remedies. The moratorium does not apply to injunctive relief and is applicable only if 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.
District Bring Your Own Device Policy
Student BYOD Policy
Providing students and staff with a 21st century digital learning environment is part of the SMUHSD core values. Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, SMUHSD will allow students to bring their own technology devices (laptops, smart phones, eReaders, tablet computers, iPads, etc.) to use at specified times during the school day. Use of devices to enhance learning in the classroom will be pursued when deemed appropriate at individual teacher discretion.
SMUHSD is providing wireless connectivity as a guest service and offers no guarantees that any use of the wireless connection is in any way secure, or that any privacy can be protected when using this wireless connection. Use of the SMUHSD wireless network is entirely at the risk of the user, and San Mateo Union High School District is not responsible for any loss of any information that may arise from the use of the wireless connection, or for any loss, injury or damages resulting from the use of the wireless connection. All users of the SMUHSD network are bound by the district’s Acceptable Use Policy for Technology. By entering, “Accept” when prompted by SMUHSD Network, you are agreeing to all of the above cautions and policies as they pertain to non‐district devices. Students who do not accept the terms of service will not be able to access the SMUHSD Network. The terms of service prompt will post each time an outside user attempts to use this network. Once on the SMUHSD network, all users will have filtered Internet access just as they would on a district owned device.
Acceptable Use Policy
SMUHSD provides students with access to the District’s electronic communications system for educational purposes. The electronic communications system is defined as the District’s network, servers, computers, mobile devices, peripherals, applications, databases, online resources, Internet access, email, and any other technology designated for use by students. With this educational opportunity comes responsibility.
While the District uses filtering technology and protection measures to restrict access to inappropriate material, it is not possible to absolutely prevent such access. It will be each student’s responsibility to follow the rules for appropriate and responsible use. Access to the SMUHSD network is a privilege and administrators and faculty may review files and messages to maintain system integrity and ensure that users are acting responsibly.
All students in SMUHSD must adhere to the following standards of acceptable use:
- The District may review files and communications to maintain system integrity and ensure that users are using the system responsibly. Users should not expect that files stored on district servers will always be private.
- Students are responsible at all times for their use of the District’s electronic communication system and must assume personal responsibility to behave ethically and responsibly, even when technology provides them the freedom to do otherwise.
- Students must log in and use the SMUHSD filtered wireless network during the schoolday on personal electronic devices.
- Students must not access, modify, download, or install computer programs, files, or information belonging to others.
- Students must not waste or abuse school resources through unauthorized system use (e.g. playing online games, downloading music, watching video broadcasts, participating in chat rooms, etc.).
- Students must not alter computers, networks, printers or other equipment except as directed by a staff member.
- Technology, including electronic communication, should be used for appropriate educational purposes only and should be consistent with the educational objectives of SMUHSD.
- Students must not release personal information on the Internet or electronic communications.
- Personal SMUHSD network access information should not be conveyed to other students or attempts be made to use anyone else’s accounts.
- If a student finds an inappropriate site or image, he or she must immediately minimize the program and contact the instructor.
- Students must not create/publish/submit or display any materials/media that are abusive, obscene, sexually oriented, threatening, harassing, damaging to another’s reputation, or illegal and should report any instances encountered.
- Students shall adhere to all laws and statutes related to issues of copyright or plagiarism.
- Violation of any of these standards may result in suspension of computer use, Internet privileges and/or other disciplinary action.
When a student brings his/her own technology device to a school campus, it is mandatory that the device utilize the SMUHSD wireless network. For example, a San Mateo High student will choose the “SMHS” wireless ID, and accept the terms of service outlined on the splash page. By accepting the terms of service, staff and students are accepting the terms of the SMUHSD Student Acceptable Use Policy. Once on the SMUHSD wireless network, all users will have filtered Internet access just as they would on a district owned device.
Frequently Asked Questions - Technology
I brought my device to school to use in the classroom, but my teacher said I couldn’t use it in her classroom. Can I still use it?
The teacher in the classroom has the final say on procedures in the classroom. If he or she asks you not to use your device, then you should follow those directions. Access is available but not guaranteed for each classroom situation.
I am uncertain on specific policy regarding times and locations my personal device can be used during the school day. Exactly when am I allowed? I have my laptop/mobile device with me in class. How do I get on the Internet now?
Most laptops or other personal technology devices (smart phones), will detect a wireless connection when you are near one. Your device should prompt you to join an available network. When prompted, choose the student wireless ID from the list (for example: SMHS). Once you choose this network and open an Internet browser, you will log in using your SMUHSD network username and password.
My laptop is not prompting me to choose a wireless network. Is there another way to connect?
In the settings menu of your device, there is usually a network access icon. Go to this icon and choose your campus student wireless ID from the list or prompt your computer to look for wireless networks in range. Always consult your device’s owner’s manual for exact directions for accessing a wireless network.
I just can’t get my laptop to connect to the network. Can I get some help from someone?
It is not the responsibility of your teachers or other SMUHSD staff to troubleshoot individual devices during the school day. Check your owner’s manual for issues concerning connectivity.
What if my laptop or phone is stolen or damaged? What recourse can I take?
Students bring electronic communication devices to school at their own risk, just like any other personal item. The district will not be held responsible if an electronic device or other item is lost, stolen, or misplaced, including those that have been confiscated.
I don’t have my own electronic communications device to bring to school. Will I be penalized or miss out on instruction?
No! It is not mandatory for students to bring a device, even if they do own one. When electronic devices are used to enhance learning in the classroom, students without a personal device will be provided access to an appropriate district owned digital device. Keep in mind that learning can be enhanced greatly for the entire class even if only a handful of students have a device!
Is it required that I use the SMUHSD wireless? Can I use my own 3G or 4G service?
It is absolutely required that you use the district filtered wireless and is stated as such in the 2012-2013 Acceptable Use Policy. Using your own wireless provider during school is a breach of both agreements and the violation will result in confiscation of your device. Student filtering is required by federal law of all public schools. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires all network access to be filtered, regardless of the tool you use to access it while in a public school. Your laptop or phone is the device. The network you are using while at school belongs to SMUHSD and will be filtered.
Am I still held accountable for the Acceptable Use Policy (“AUP”) I signed at the beginning of the school year even though this is my own personal computer?
Yes. The Acceptable Use Policy for SMUHSD remains in effect even when you are using your own laptop, smart phone, iPad etc. Each time you attempt to access the network at school you will be prompted to accept the terms of service which include the AUP. Violating the terms of the AUP would be violation of school rules and would be dealt with by a campus administrator.
Am I allowed to connect my laptop to an open network port and gain access to the internet?
No. SMUHSD is only providing access to personal devices through the wireless network.
Are there any guidelines that must be followed when I’m using my device on the proper wireless and during the designated times at school?
Use of electronic communications devices during the school day is a privilege. Adherence to the guidelines below is essential to maintaining an academic environment and the integrity of the classroom.
Using functions on electronic devices in any manner that disrupts the educational environment, from within or from outside the classroom, or violates the rights of others, including, but not limited to using the device to cheat, violate school conduct rules, harass or bully staff or students or use their device for unlawful purposes will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension, expulsion and will be reported to the local authorities.
Using any device that permits recording the voice or image of another in any way that either disrupts the educational environment, invades the privacy of others, or is made without the prior consent of the individuals being recorded is prohibited. Also, using any device that permits recording the voice or image of another to take, disseminate, transfer or share audio, images, video or photographs that reveal private parts of the body that are ordinarily covered by clothing is prohibited. The possession of pornographic images or video on any electronic device is prohibited.
Please review the following technology user agreements:
- Parent/Student AUP (Provided at Registration/Summer Digital Packet)
- Student RUP and Chromebook Contract
Please review the following:
San Mateo Union High School District has a bold, common district goal to reduce suspensions and expulsions throughout the district and to decrease disproportionally as it relates to discipline procedures. District Goal # 2, as outlined by Superintendent Kevin Skelly, “to examine, analyze and improve our student support systems to meet the changing social-emotional health needs of our students with a reduction target of 20% decline in suspensions and expulsions as well as the expansion of restorative justice practices.”
Restorative Justice Practices
The fundamental premise of Restorative Justice Practices (RJP) is that “human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when people in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.” There are two RJP tiers – “The Circle” which is the first step intervention piece and “The Conference” which is a non-punitive philosophical approach to discipline which repairs harm done, teaches accountability for offenses and how to move forward without shame.
The restorative circle structure establishes equality, safety, trust, responsibility, facilitation, ownership and community connections, as well as building a strong and supportive relationship among students and teachers in the classroom, improving academic performance. problem solving, reducing bullying and conflict. It gives students a chance to tell their stories and to participate in the classroom setting in a way that is very different from the traditional classroom structure.
The Restorative Conference
The first step of conferencing is the pre-conference. The pre-conference is conducted by an RJP facilitator. The offender/offenders, victim/victims are interviewed separately in the pre-conference to establish criteria for a successful conference. The offender/offenders must admit to wrongdoing before the conference can be held. If all parties are in agreement the RJP conference is conducted. The goal of this conference is to repair the harm that has been done and to move forward without shame. There is an intended script that is strictly followed by the facilitator. At the end of the conference all parties come to an agreement and a contract is signed by all participants. Follow-up check ins as needed. This intervention is used within the discipline process.
Alternative to Suspension
The purpose of the Alternative to Suspension Program is to provide an opportunity for students to contemplate, connect, to repair harm and to make positive decisions, reducing the time out of the classroom and focusing on increasing student academic success. Through this proactive intervention, students will be given tools to reduce negative behaviors by utilizing the Restorative Justice Practices Philosophy.
Suspended students engage in structured, therapeutic time during suspension to address underlying causes of suspension and increase engagement in school upon reentry. Students who receive 1-3 day suspensions are eligible for this On-Campus Suspension Program by referral by a school dean or site administrator. At the discretion of the dean or site administrator, students may serve the first day of suspension at home and then opt to attend the On-Campus Suspension program for one day in lieu of serving the remainder of the suspension. A licensed MFT facilitates the program in collaboration with a SMUHSD PPS credentialed certificated staff member. The program operates during regular school hours (8am-3pm) on the campus of the Adult School, 789 Poplar Street, San Mateo.
Brief Intervention Counseling
Brief Intervention is a counseling intervention for students identified with:
- Low level substance abuse.
- Short history of drug use
- Are unsure or ambivalent about changing their drug use
- Are experiencing few problems with their drug use
How does it work?
BI consists of:
- 15 minute assessment interview with counselor/referrer
- Student pre survey (AADIS)
- 2 worksheet based 45-minute sessions with student and trained counselor.
- Optional parent session
- Contact with dean when program is completed
- Documentation in Aeries
What is the purpose of BI?
The purpose of BI is:
- To provide a forum for the student to discuss their drug use, how it impacts their health, academics and relationships
- To support the student in setting healthy goals, making healthy decisions and reducing and/or stopping their drug use.
Why Brief Intervention?
BI follows a Harm Reduction approach:
- Supporting the student’s effort to reduce use
- Individual sessions with counselor providing consistency, trust and change
- Empowers students to be accountable for their own positive change
How do Students Enter BIS (Behavior Intervention Sessions)?
- Mandated by disciplinary decision – in lieu of or in addition to suspension
- Self/Staff/Soft Referral (on their own accord)
SMUHSD Student Services
For questions and more information about the following items, visit the Student Services section of the District website: https://www.smuhsd.org/student-services, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650-558-2251:
- Address changes and / or contact info changes
- Wellness counseling
- Attendance issues
- Transferring students
- Data Confirmation - Summer Census
- Preferred Name Changes
- Alternatives to Suspension programs
At Aragon, you can also contact:
Ms. Dounia Kardosh
Student Services Support