This document is an attempt to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding how to deal with parent complaints. It also attempts to bring clarity to this process for the benefit of both BFT members and administrators.
Q: What do I do if a parent complains about me to my administrator?
BUSD and BFT agree on the goal that complaints should be resolved informally whenever possible and that they should be resolved at the lowest level possible. This means that when a parent registers an informal
complaint (eg. via email, phone, or in person) with an administrator, the process is as follows:
- The administrator will refer the parent back to the teacher, encouraging them to include their student (only at BHS and BTA) in any correspondence or meetings so that everyone is in the loop together.
IF the parent has already expressed their concern to the teacher and does not feel satisfied, the administrator will ask them to communicate with the teacher again via email, CCing the administrator.If the parent is unwilling to communicate with the teacher or does not feel that they’ve received a satisfactory outcome, the administrator should instruct the parent that they can file a formal complaint using the district form.
- The administrator will also offer to forward any relevant emails to the teacher in question with the goal of facilitating communication.
Q: What are my rights if a parent files a formal complaint against me?
This process is outlined in article 15.8 of the BFT/BUSD contract.
- Once a complaint has been filed in writing, the administrator can request a meeting with the teacher. The teacher has the right to a union representative in this meeting. Note: administrators cannot require teachers to meet with both the administrator and the parent. However, it is of course ok for a teacher to request that an administrator attend a parent meeting as support.
- If a meeting between the administrator and teacher cannot resolve the complaint, then the BUSD administrator responsible for complaints takes over. Again, if a BUSD administrator wants to interview a teacher about a complaint, they must do so in private session and the teacher has a right to union representation.
Depending on the outcome of this meeting, one of two things will happen:
1. Either “charges may be dismissed”
2. If agreement cannot be reached, the matter will be referred to the Board who can either dismiss the matter or hold a closed session personnel hearing.
2.a. The teacher has the right to attend this closed session hearing along with their union representative.
Important: All findings of any of these processes are confidential unless the teacher requests otherwise.
Q: Can I see the complaint filed against me?
Yes. The teacher in question will receive a copy of the formal complaint, as will the relevant administrator for each step of the process.
Relevant Contract Language:
15.8 Formal Complaints
Formal complaints from community members against an individual teacher shall be referred to the Principal. If the complaint is not resolved by the Principal and the complaint could affect the performance review of the teacher, the complaint shall be reduced to writing by the complainant and copies provided the District Compliance Officer (DCO) and the teacher. If the DCO views it necessary s/he shall meet with the teacher and/or representative in private session. If the complaint is not resolved by the DCO and the complaint could affect the performance review of the teacher the complaint could affect the performance review of the teacher the complaint shall be provided to the Superintendent. If the Superintendent views it necessary s/he shall meet with the teacher and/or representative in private session.
Upon agreement, charges may be dismissed. All meetings concerning such matters are to be conducted in confidence and no public disclosure shall be made except by mutual agreement. If no agreement has been reached, the matter shall be referred to the Board which may either terminate the charges or conduct a closed session personnel hearing. The teacher and/or representative may attend this session. The findings of the Board shall be treated as confidential by involved parties unless otherwise requested by the teacher. These findings may be made a part of the performance review record.