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Just Schools Complaint Forms


PDF Logo Complaint Booklet - English(4pp, 470 KB) or Complaint Booklet - Spanish(4pp, 604 KB)

PDF Logo Complaint form - English(1 pp, 145 KB) or Complaint form - Spanish(1 pp, 236 MB)

 

Take Action Now to Improve Your School
How to Use The NewUniform Complaint Procedurefor California Schools


DID YOU KNOW THAT:

The new law tells parents, students and others how to bring problems to the attention of
school officials. And it tells school officials how they must listen and respond. The new
law is not perfect. But it is a new tool for anyone who wants to help improve a school.
These materials prepared by UCLA law students and Profesor Gary Blasi.
All information current as of 3/10/2005.
For the latest version and more information, visit JustSchoolsComplaints.org

A STEP- BY- STEP GUIDE TO THE UNIFORM COMPLAINT PROCEDURE FOR CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS
Step 1. Decide Who Should File the Complaint. Who can complain?
Anyone can file a complaint:
• Parents or guardians of students
• Students
• Teachers
• Interested community members or advocates
• Organizations or groups
• Any person or group on behalf of another person, if that person agrees.

STEPS IN FILING A COMPLAINT
Step 2. Determine the Facts. What Can You Complain About?
TEXTBOOKS
• If a student does not have textbooks or other materials (like maps for geography or science equipment)
to use at school.
• If a student does not have access to textbooks or other materials (like workbooks) to take home for assigned
homework.
• If a student has textbooks in poor or unusable condition, or only photocopies made because of shortages.
TEACHERS
• If a student starts the school year without a permanently assigned teacher assigned to a class.
• If a student’s teacher is assigned to teach a class and the teacher lacks the necessary training to teach that class.
• If a student is in a class with more than 20% students who are English Language Learners (ELLs) and the teacher lacks the credentials or training to teach ELLs.
FACILITIES
• If there are problems with the school building or grounds that create a serious threat to the health and safety of students, teachers, or school workers.

Other problems with school quality and discrimination.
In addition to the list above (the so-called “Williams Complaints”), complaints can also be filed based on discrimination in access to quality education. For example, it is illegal for a school, a school district, or the state to discriminate against students based or race or ethnic group. Discrimination can happen whether or not anyone intends to discriminate. For example, discrimination may be shown if students in schools serving mostly Latino students have many fewer learning opportunities than schools serving mostly White students. The law prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color or mental or physical disability.

Step 3. Fill out a written complaint form and make copies.
It's easy. Here's how:
• Fill out a written complaint form (in this packet, or available from your school).
• Make a copy of the complaint form for your records.
• Deliver or mail copies of the complaint form to the correct people (see next step).

Step 4. Deliver or mail copies of the complaint (always keep a copy)
the complaint form goes to:

The School Principal

“Williams complaints” should be submitted to the School Principal.

The School District Superintendent (in most cases)
Complaints about discrimination must be submitted to the School District Superintendent.

In addition, the School District Superintendent is responsible for all the schools in the district. Giving the District Superintendent a copy
of the complaint may encourage a principal to pay attention to the complaint.

The County Superintendent of Schools.
You should also send a copy of the complaint to the County Superintendent of Schools. The County Superintendent of Schools is responsible for monitoring conditions in all the school districts in that county. Every year, people working for the County Superintendent of Schools inspect schools. Having a copy of your complaint will help these inspectors ask the right questions.

Q: When would it make sense to have a group or advocate file the complaint?
A: Having a group or several people file complaints together
may make the complaint especially powerful. In addition, if an
advocate, church, or group files the complaint, any possibility of
retaliation is reduced.
Questions and Answers about Textbooks and Materials.
Q: What if a teacher just hands out copies of things for homework?
A: This is acceptable ONLY if the teacher is doing that for some
teaching reason and NOT because of a shortage of books or
materials.

Questions and Answers about Teachers.
Q: How do I find out what credentials or certification a teacher has?
A: If you know the name of the teacher, you can call the state
credentialing agency at 888-921-2682. You can also look up the
information on the internet at www.ctc.ca.gov

Questions and Answers about School Facilities.
Q: What kinds of problems are regarded as creating a serious
(what the law calls an "emergency or urgent") threat to the
health and safety of students or school employees?
A: Things like: gas leaks; heaters or air-conditioning not
working; electrical power failure; major broken sewer lines; mice,
rat or cockroach infestation; broken windows or locks; hazardous
materials of any kind; structural damage to school buildings

Questions and Answers about Discrimination.
Q: Can you give an example of discrimination about things
other than “Williams Complaints?”
A: One example might be if a student in a school with mostly
African American students has fewer chances to enroll in advanced
courses than students in a school where most of the students are
White.
Q: What if the school tells me I have to use their form or another form?
A: You do NOT have to use any particular form, but we have
provided an easy-to-use form in this booklet. You can also get
a complaint form from your local school, but you are NOT required
to use any particular form. This is law under California Education
Code 4621(c) and 4680(c). We have designed the complaint
form in this booklet to be used to make “Williams Complaints”
and “Discrimination Complaints” at the same time.
Q: How do I get the name and address of the Prncipal?
A: Call your school, or ask in the school office.
Q: How do I find the School District Superintendent for my
school?
A: Ask at your school or public library, or look in the telephone
book. For schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District,
complaints to the District Superintendent should be sent to:

Roy Romer, Superintendent
c/o Deborah Ernst, Director, SFP/CTS
701 W. Cesar Chavez Ave., Ste. 102, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Q: How do I find the County Superintendent of Schools?
A: Ask at your public library or look in the telephone book.
For schools in Los Angeles County, copies of your complaint should
be sent to:
Darline Robles, County Superintendent of Schools
9300 Imperial Highway, Room EC109
Downey, CA 90242-2890

COMMON QUESTIONS STEPS IN FILING A COMPLAINT

Q: What is a “working day”?
A: All days, not counting weekends and legal holidays.
Q: Why are the response times from the Principal and District
Superintendent different?
A: There is a slightly different set of rules for two types of
complaints. The Principal receives and responds to “Williams
Complaints” The District Superintendent receives and responds
to “Discrimination Complaints.”
Remember: A single complaint can be both a “Williams Complaint” and a
“Discrimination Complaint”, if it is sent to the Principal and the Superintendent,
so both should respond to these complaints.

COMMON QUESTIONS
Step 5. Wait for the school and school district to take action within the time the law requires.
School officials will look into the complaint and take action.
• If you have included your name and address on your complaint then you should get a written response from the Principal within 45 working days.
• You should receive a response from the School District Superintendent within 60 days (including all weekends and holidays). This is the required procedure for “Discrimination Complaints.”
• The County Superintendent of Schools will keep your complaint as public record but you will probably not get a response from their office. Your complaint will be available when the County Superintendent inspects the school.

Step 6. What Happens If The Problem Is Not Fixed?
• For a “Williams Complaint,” if you are not happy with the response from the Principal, you can attend a public meeting of the School Board and tell them about your complaint and the response you received.
• If your “Williams Complaint” is about a school facilities problem that creates an immediate risk to health or safety, you can also appeal directly to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Sacramento.
• For a “Discrimination Complaint,” if you are not happy with the response from the School District Superintendent, you can appeal to the State Department of Education in Sacramento.

THE FLOWCHART BELOW SHOWS HOW THE APPEAL PROCESS WORKS.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE IMPORTANT DEADLINES FOR APPEALING.

Q: Who is the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and
how do I send my appeal about school facilities to him?
A: Send a copy of your complaint, a copy of the response you
received from the District, and a statement of why you think the
District got the facts or the law wrong, to:
Jack O’Connell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
1430 N. Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Q: What are the kinds of problems that pose an immediate
threat to health or safety?
A: Things like: gas leaks; heaters or air-conditioning not
working when it is very hot or cold; electrical power failures;
major broken sewer lines; mice, rat or cockroach infestation;
broken windows or locks; hazardous materials of any kind;
structural damage to school buildings.
Q: How do I appeal to the State Department of Education about
discrimination?
A: Send a copy of your complaint, a copy of the response you
received from the District, and a statement of why you think the
District got the facts or the law wrong, to:
California Department of Education
1430 N. Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Other Common Questions and Answers.

Q: Will the school take some action against me or my child if I submit a complaint form?
A. It is illegal for school officials to retaliate against you or your child. But if you are afraid this may happen, someone else can send the complaint without giving your
name. This might be a parent group, a community organization, a church or an advocate.
Q: Won't people at the school get in trouble if I submit a complaint?
A: The purpose of the complaint process is to notify those who are responsible for our schools about problems in them. Good school leaders want to know if there are
problems they should deal with. And every student deserves a good education, and someone speaking up for him or her.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH A RESPONSE
A.) When should I expect a response from the Principal?
• If you file a complaint without giving your name and address, you will not receive a response from the Principal.
• If you include your name and address, the Principal must respond to you within 45 working days.
B.) How do I appeal a Principal’s response?
• You can present your complaint at a school board meeting.
• If your complaint is about your school’s facilities that creates a serious problem or creates a risk to the students’ health, you can file an appeal to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
C.) When should I expect a response from the District Superintendent?
• The superintendent must respond within 60 calendar days from receiving your complaint.
D.) How do I appeal a District Superintendent’s response?
• If you receive a response and you are not happy.
• Within 15 days, you file an appeal to the State Department of Education.
• They have 60 days to reply to you.
• You receive a response from the State Department of Education and you are still not happy.
• Within 35 days, you must ask for reconsideration from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
• They have 35 days to respond to you.

COMPLAINT FORM

* Dowload PDF of the Complaint form - English(1 pp, 145 KB)

* Dowload PDF of the Complaint form - Spanish(1 pp, 236 MB)

* Dowload PDF of the Complaint Booklet - English(4pp, 470 KB)

* Dowload PDF of the Complaint Booklet - Spanish(4pp, 604 KB)