Lakewood School District Discrimination Complaint Procedures

  • Nondiscrimination Policy

    In accordance with RCW49.60, the Lakewood School District does not discriminate in employment and schools. The Lakewood School District provides Equal Educational and Employment Opportunity without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap/disability, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, religion, age, veteran or military status, use of a trained dog to guide or service animal by a person with a disability, and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and designated youth groups. The district complies with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations to include, but not limited to, Title IX, Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, RCW 49.60 “The Law Against Discrimination,” and RCW 28A.640 “Sex Equity,” and covers, but is not limited to, all district programs, courses, activities, including extracurricular activities, services, access to facilities, etc. Inquiries regarding compliance procedures should be directed to Lakewood School District, 17110 16th Drive NE, Marysville, WA 98271, Attention: Title IX and Civil Rights Officer, Timothy Haines, 360-652-4500, thaines@lwsd.wednet.edu or ADA Compliance Officer and Section 504 Compliance Officer, Lissan Wipfli, 360-652-4500, lwipfli@lwsd.wednet.edu.

    You can report discrimination and discriminatory harassment to any school staff member or to the district's Civil Rights Coordinator, listed above. You also have the right to file a complaint (see below). For a copy of your district’s nondiscrimination policy and procedure, contact your school or district office or view it online here:

    Sexual Harassment

    Students and staff are protected against sexual harassment by anyone in any school program or activity, including on the school campus, on the school bus, or off-campus during a school-sponsored activity.

    Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior or communication that is sexual in nature when:

    • A student or employee is led to believe that he or she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct or communications in order to gain something in return, such as a grade, a promotion, a place on a sports team, or any educational or employment decision, or
    • The conduct substantially interferes with a student's educational performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile educational or employment environment.

    Examples of Sexual Harassment

    • Pressuring a person for sexual favors
    • Unwelcome touching of a sexual nature
    • Writing graffiti of a sexual nature
    • Distributing sexually explicit texts, e-mails, or pictures
    • Making sexual jokes, rumors, or suggestive remarks
    • Physical violence, including rape and sexual assault

    You can report sexual harassment to any school staff member or to the district's Title IX Officer, who is listed above. You also have the right to file a complaint (see below). For a copy of your district’s sexual harassment policy and procedure, contact your school or district office, or view it online here: Sexual Harassment Policy

    Complaint Options: Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

    If you believe that you or your child have experienced unlawful discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or sexual harassment at school, you have the right to file a complaint.

    Before filing a complaint, you can discuss your concerns with your child’s principal or with the school district’s Section 504 Coordinator, Title IX Officer, or Civil Rights Coordinator, who are listed above. This is often the fastest way to resolve your concerns.

    Complaint to the School District

    Step 1. Write Out Your Complaint

    In most cases, complaints must be filed within one year from the date of the incident or conduct that is the subject of the complaint. A complaint must be in writing. Be sure to describe the conduct or incident, explain why you believe discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or sexual harassment has taken place, and describe what actions you believe the district should take to resolve the problem. Send your written complaint—by mail, fax, email, or hand delivery—to the district superintendent or civil rights compliance coordinator.

    Step 2: School District Investigates Your Complaint

    Once the district receives your written complaint, the coordinator will give you a copy of the complaint procedure and make sure a prompt and thorough investigation takes place. The superintendent or designee will respond to you in writing within 30 calendar days—unless you agree on a different time period. If your complaint involves exceptional circumstances that demand a lengthier investigation, the district will notify you in writing to explain why staff need a time extension and the new date for their written response.

    Step 3: School District Responds to Your Complaint

    In its written response, the district will include a summary of the results of the investigation, a determination of whether or not the district failed to comply with civil rights laws, notification that you can appeal this determination, and any measures necessary to bring the district into compliance with civil rights laws. Corrective measures will be put into effect within 30 calendar days after this written response—unless you agree to a different time period.

    Appeal to the School District

    If you disagree with the school district’s decision, you may appeal to the school district’s board of directors. You must file a notice of appeal in writing to the secretary of the school board within 10 calendar days after you receive the school district’s response to your complaint. The school board will schedule a hearing within 20 calendar days after they receive your appeal, unless you agree on a different timeline. The school board will send you a written decision within 30 calendar days after the district receives your notice of appeal. The school board’s decision will include information about how to file a complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

    Complaint to OSPI

    If you do not agree with the school district’s appeal decision, state law provides the option to file a formal complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). This is a separate complaint process that can take place if one of these two conditions has occurred: (1) you have completed the district’s complaint and appeal process, or (2) the district has not followed the complaint and appeal process correctly.

    You have 20 calendar days to file a complaint to OSPI from the day you received the decision on your appeal. You can send your written complaint to the Equity and Civil Rights Office at OSPI:

    Email: Equity@k12.wa.us ǀ Fax: 360-664-2967

    Mail or hand deliver: PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA 98504-7200
    For more information, visit our website, or contact OSPI’s Equity and Civil Rights Office at 360-725-6162/TTY: 360-664-3631 or by e-mail at equity@k12.wa.us.

    Other Discrimination Complaint Options

    Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
    206-607-1600 ǀ TDD: 1-800-877-8339 ǀ OCR.Seattle@ed.gov ǀ OCR Website

    Washington State Human Rights Commission
    1-800-233-3247 ǀ TTY: 1-800-300-7525 ǀ  Human Rights Commission Website

    Training

    This policy is a component of the district’s responsibility to create and maintain a safe, civil, respectful and inclusive learning community and will be implemented in conjunction with comprehensive training of staff and volunteers.

    Prevention

    The district will provide students with strategies aimed at preventing harassment, intimidation and bullying. In its efforts to train students, the district will seek partnerships with families, law enforcement and other community agencies.

    Interventions

    Interventions are designed to remediate the impact on the targeted student(s) and others impacted by the violation, to change the behavior of the perpetrator, and to restore a positive school climate.

    The district will consider the frequency of incidents, developmental age of the student, and severity of the conduct in determining intervention strategies. Interventions will range from counseling, correcting behavior and discipline, to law enforcement referrals.

    Retaliation/False Allegations

    Retaliation is prohibited and will result in appropriate discipline. It is a violation of this policy to threaten or harm someone for reporting harassment, intimidation, or bullying. It is also a violation of district policy to knowingly report false allegations of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Students or employees will not be disciplined for making a report in good faith. However, persons found to knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline.

    Compliance Officer

    The superintendent will appoint a compliance officer as the primary district contact to receive copies of all formal and informal complaints and ensure policy implementation. The name and contact information for the compliance officer will be communicated throughout the district.

    The superintendent is authorized to direct the implementation of procedures addressing the elements of this policy.

    Unresolved, Severe, or Persistent Harassment

    Any student who believes he or she has been the target of unresolved, severe, or persistent harassment, intimidation or bullying, or any other person in the school community who observes or receives notice that a student has or may have been the target of unresolved, severe, or persistent harassment, intimidation or bullying may report incidents verbally or in writing to any staff member.

    In order to protect a targeted student from retaliation, a student need not reveal his identity on an Incident Reporting Form. The form may be filed anonymously, confidentially, or the student may choose to disclose his or her identity (non-confidential).

    All reports of unresolved, severe, or persistent harassment, intimidation or bullying will be investigated with reasonable promptness. Any student may have a trusted adult with them throughout the report and investigation process.

    1. Upon receipt of the Incident Reporting Form that alleges unresolved, severe, or persistent harassment, intimidation or bullying, the school or district designee will begin the investigation. If there is potential for clear and immediate physical harm to the complainant, the district will immediately contact law enforcement and inform the parent/guardian.
    2. During the course of the investigation, the district will take reasonable measures to ensure that no further incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying occur between the complainant and the alleged aggressor. If necessary, the district will implement a safety plan for the student(s) involved. The plan may include changing seating arrangements for the complainant and/or the alleged aggressor in the classroom, at lunch, or on the bus; identifying a staff member who will act as a safe person for the complainant; altering the alleged aggressor’s schedule and access to the complainant, and other measures.
    3. Within two (2) school days after receiving the Incident Reporting Form, the school designee will notify the families of the students involved that a complaint was received and direct the families to the district’s policy and procedure on harassment, intimidation and bullying.
    4. In rare cases, where, after consultation with the student and appropriate staff (such as a psychologist, counselor, or social worker), the district has evidence that it would threaten the health and safety of the complainant or the alleged aggressor to involve his or her parent/guardian, the district may initially refrain from contacting the parent/guardian in its investigation of harassment, intimidation and bullying. If professional school personnel suspect that a student is subject to abuse and neglect, they must follow district policy for reporting suspected cases to Child Protective Services.
    5. The investigation shall include, at a minimum:
      1. An interview with the complainant;
      2. An interview with the alleged aggressor;
      3. A review of any previous complaints involving either the complainant or the alleged aggressor; and
      4. Interviews with other students or staff members who may have knowledge of the alleged incident.
    6. The principal or designee may determine that other steps must be taken before the investigation is complete.
    7. The investigation will be completed as soon as practicable but generally no later than five (5) school days from the initial complaint or report. If more time is needed to complete an investigation, the district will provide the parent/guardian and/or the student with weekly updates.
    8. No later than two (2) school days after the investigation has been completed and submitted to the compliance officer, the principal or designee shall respond in writing or in person to the parent/guardian of the complainant and the alleged aggressor stating:
      1. The results of the investigation;
      2. Whether the allegations were found to be factual;
      3. Whether there was a violation of policy; and
      4. The process for the complainant to file an appeal if the complainant disagrees with the results.

    If the incident cannot be resolved at the school level, the principal or designee should request assistance from the district.

    If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the student may make a formal complaint to the principal or Director of HR and Administrative Services. They will then conduct a formal investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the Principal or Director of Student Services will recommend a course of action or resolution.

    If the matter is still unresolved, a formal complaint may be filed with the Superintendent. The Superintendent will then conduct a formal investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the Superintendent will recommend a course of action or resolution.

    The district will endeavor to protect the rights of all persons involved in this complaint process, including individuals who initiate complaints, persons against whom the complaint has been filed, and witnesses.

    It is the goal of the district to have all complaints treated in the strictest confidence except as is necessary to investigate the allegations.