Investigation and Resolution of the Complaint

  • A Complaint Manager or the Complaint Administrator will promptly investigate every complaint, observing all relevant state and federal laws and regulations and school system policies and procedures, as well as applicable contractual requirements.  If the investigator determines that harassment has occurred, a Complaint Manager or the Complaint Administrator will take appropriate action to end the harassment and to ensure that it is not repeated. 

    Respondents will be informed of the charges as soon as a Complaint Manager or the Complaint Administrator deems appropriate based upon the nature of the allegations, the investigation required, and the action contemplated. 

    A Complaint Manager or the Complaint Administrator will interview witnesses whom he/she deems necessary and appropriate to determine the facts relevant to the complaint and will gather other relevant information. Such interviews and gathering of information will be completed within approximately fifteen (15) school days of receiving the complaint. 

    Within approximately twenty (20) school days of receiving the complaint, Complaint Manager or the Complaint Administrator will meet the complainant and/or his/her representative to review the information gathered and, if applicable, to propose a resolution designed to stop the discrimination or harassment and to correct its effect.  Within approximately ten (10) school days of the meeting with the complainant and/or representative, Complaint Manager or the Complaint Administrator will provide written disposition of the complaint to the complainant and/or representative and to the respondent(s). 

    Notwithstanding the above, it is understood that in the event a resolution contemplated by the Public Schools of Brookline involves disciplinary action against an employee or a student, the complainant will not be informed of such disciplinary action unless it directly involves the complainant (i.e. a directive to “stay away‟ from the complainant), as might occur as a result of a complaint or harassment. 

    Unless the allegation happens at the end of the school year, all the timelines specified above are school days and will be implemented as specified, unless the nature of the investigation or exigent circumstances prevent such implementation, in which case, the matter will be completed as quickly as practicable.  If the timelines specified above are not met, the reason(s) for not meeting them must be clearly documented. In addition, it should be noted that in the event the respondent is subject to a collective bargaining agreement which sets forth a specific timeline for notice and/or investigation of a complaint, such timelines will be followed.

    After the case has been concluded, all records and paperwork associated with the case will be forwarded to the Complaint Administrator, Dr. Maria Letasz, Coordinator of Title IX, Title VI, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  The Compliant Administrator will keep all paperwork in a locked file cabinet.  

    A Complaint Manager, a Complaint Coordinator, or the Superintendent may access the Complaint Administrators files only when investigating a second allegation involving individuals from their current investigation. 

    Confidentiality of complainants/respondents and witnesses will be maintained, to the extent consistent with the Public Schools of Brookline’s obligations relating to the investigation of complaints and the due process rights of individuals affected. 

    Retaliation against someone because he/she has filed a complaint under this Complaint Procedure is strictly prohibited. 


    Penalties 

    Persons who engage in harassment or retaliation or who willfully files a false complaint will be subject to discipline, suspension, termination/expulsion or other sanctions, subject to applicable school system policies and procedures, as well as applicable contractual requirements. 

    Any disciplinary action imposed upon an employee or student is subject to applicable procedural requirements. 

    In certain cases, harassment of a student, and in particular, sexual harassment of a student may constitute child abuse under Massachusetts Law.  Verbal sexual harassment of any child by anyone including school district employees/volunteers is recognized as a form of child abuse and a warning sign of actual physical or sexual abuse.  A matter reported under this section shall be screened by a Complaint Manager or Complaint Administrator to determine whether an investigation is pursuant to the Child Abuse and Neglect Policy, The Sexual Harassment Policy, or both.  If such abuse is determined to have happened, then the screener will file a reported immediately with the Department of Children and Families in accordance with the requirements of M.G.L. c. I 19, s. 51A. The Public Schools of Brookline will comply with all legal requirements governing the reporting of suspected cases of child abuse.