District Grievance and Title II Complaint Procedures
When a parent/guardian disagrees with the Section 504 Team's decisions regarding their child’s identification, evaluation, educational program, or placement, they have the right to challenge the decisions by filing a grievance, requesting a mediation meeting, or requesting an impartial due process hearing. (Form N). A parent/guardian or a student who is disabled may also file a civil rights complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) if they believe they are being retaliated against because of their efforts to obtain an appropriate education for the student. In the event the parent/guardian's complaint is found credible, the District will take steps to prevent recurrence of any discrimination and to correct discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate.
Section 504 Grievance
If a parent/guardian believes their Section 504 rights or their child's Section 504 rights are being violated, they may file a grievance with the Section 504 Compliance Coordinator. The Cullman County Board of Education's Compliance Coordinator is Ms. Tiffanye Mitchell. Address: 17600 U.S. Highway 31, Cullman, Alabama 35058. Telephone: (256) 739-0486.
Impartial Due Process Hearing-An impartial due process hearing will be utilized to resolve differences between the parent and the District when such differences cannot be resolved by means of a less formal procedure. In this instance, due process is defined as an opportunity to present objections and reasons for the objections to the decision and/or procedures of a Team regarding an issue under ADA/Section 504. An ADA/Section 504 due process hearing may be called at the request of the District or by the parent of an affected student. The proceedings will be presided over and decided by an impartial hearing officer. Impartial hearing officer means a person selected to preside at a due process hearing to assure that proper procedures are followed and to assure the protection of the rights of both parties.
Definitions - In all related hearing matters the following definitions shall apply:
"Days" means calendar days.
"Placement plan" means the program by which the decision concerning the educational placement of the student is decided.
"A parent" means a parent or legal custodian. In the event of a divorce, a parent means the custodial parent.
A parent or the District may initiate a due process hearing on a matter related to (1) eligibility and related procedures, (2) procedural safeguards, and/or (3) whether the student is receiving an educational opportunity commensurate with the non-disabled students.
Requests by a parent for due process hearing must be submitted in writing within thirty
(30) days of the notice of the action appealed from. Hearing notifications to the parent shall be given at least ten (10) days prior to the date set for the hearing. The notice shall contain:
A statement of time, place, and nature of the hearing.
A short and plain statement of the matters asserted.
A statement of the right to be represented by counsel.
Hearing Procedures - The hearing officer shall provide at the hearing and shall conduct the proceedings in an impartial manner to the end that all parties involved have an opportunity to:
Present their evidence.
Produce outside expert testimony and be represented by legal counsel.
A parent involved in the hearing will be given the right to have the student present at the hearing.
The hearing officer shall review relevant facts and render a decision on the issue presented for review.
Decision of the Hearing Officer - A copy of the hearing officer's decision shall be delivered to the District and the parent, within thirty (30) days following completion of the hearing. The hearing shall begin no later than sixty (60) days after receipt of the request for a hearing unless extended by agreement by the parent and the District.
Record of Hearing - A recording of the ADA/Section 504 due process hearing shall be maintained at the District office for at least six (6) months after the hearing and will be available for review upon request to the parent.
Appeal - If the Parent/Guardian is not satisfied by the decision of the Hearing Officer, a Parent/Guardian may seek review of the hearing decision within thirty (30) days of the date of the Hearing Officer's decision. The request for the review should be made in a court of competent jurisdiction, generally the closest U.S. District Court.
Section 504 Mediation
Mediation is a less formal and less adversarial method of resolving disputes than a due process hearing. During mediation, a parent/guardian and school representatives voluntarily meet with an impartial mediator to resolve disagreements with the school's decisions or actions regarding the identification, evaluation, educational program, or placement of the student. Any agreements reached between the school and the parent/guardian during the mediation process will be set forth in a written mediation agreement. A parent/guardian may request mediation by writing or by calling the Cullman County Board of Education's 504 Compliance Coordinator, Ms. Tiffanye Mitchell. Address: 17600 U.S. Highway 31, Cullman, Alabama 35058. Telephone: (256) 739-0486.
Office of Civil Rights Complaint
A parent may file a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) if they believe their child is being discriminated against on the basis of his/her disability. A Section 504 due process hearing is not required prior to filing an OCR complaint. The address of the Office of Civil Rights is: Office of Civil Rights, 61 Forsyth Street, SW, Suite 19T10, Atlanta, Georgia 30303.
Americans with Disabilities Act Complaint Procedure
Complaint Criteria – Persons who believe that they have been discriminated against on the basis of disability in the provision of services, activities, programs, or benefits covered by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act may file a written complaint with the ADA Coordinator.
Complaint Form – The complaint should be in writing and contain information about the alleged discrimination including the name, address, phone number of complaining party and location, date, and description of the problem. Alternative means of filing complaints, such as personal interviews or a tape recording of the complaint, will be made available for persons with disabilities upon request.
Complaint Process–The complaint should be submitted to the ADA Coordinator as soon as possible, but no later than thirty (30) days after the alleged violation. The ADA Coordinator will meet with the complaining party to discuss the complaint and possible resolutions. Within fifteen (15) calendar days of the meeting, the ADA Coordinator will respond in writing, and where appropriate, in a format accessible to the complaining party, such as large print, Braille, or audio tape. The response will explain the position of the Board and offer options for substantive resolution of the complaint.
Appeal Procedure – If the response by the ADA Coordinator does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, the complaining party may appeal the decision within fifteen (15) calendar days after receipt of the response to the Superintendent. Within fifteen (15) calendar days, the Superintendent will respond in writing, and where appropriate, in a format accessible to the complainant, with a final resolution of the complaint.
Records Retention – All written complaints received by the ADA Coordinator, appeals to the Superintendent, and records relating thereto will be retained by the Board for at least three (3) years.
Additional Procedures Authorized – The Superintendent is authorized to develop such procedures as are necessary to implement this policy.