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Grievance Policy

Grievance Policy

When concerns arise, please follow the Matthew 18 principles as described below.

 

Definition of grievance

A grievance is a formal complaint expressing dissatisfaction or a feeling of injustice. A grievance may relate to conduct or decisions of school personnel; administrative policies, procedures, management style, etc.; a violation of board policy to one's detriment; or the unjust or unfair application of board policy.

 

Who may register a grievance?

A person (or couple) with a grievance must represent himself/herself but may ask one other person to accompany him/her even at the first step of the process. No one may seek to resolve a grievance on behalf of another person.

 

Principles of addressing a grievance

The process of addressing a complaint or grievance is based on several principles:

  1. Speak directly to the person when one believes he/she has been wronged, rather than harboring resentment and/or gossiping with others (Matthew 18:15).

  2. Attempt to contain the matter to as limited a number of people as possible while trying to resolve the problem (Matthew 18:15-17).

  3. Be sensitive to the feelings of others and notice when others seem to have been hurt by one's actions.

  4. Settle matters quickly (Matthew 5:23-25).

  5. Speak truthfully, but in a loving manner (Ephesians 4:15).

  6. Use common courtesy (Romans 12:10).

  7. Allow reasonable time for resolution before proceeding to the next step.

  8. Document grievances and resolution attempts.

  9. Abide by the disputed policy or decision until the matter is resolved.

  10. Do not persist in a grievance once the full appeal process has been finalized.

  11. Preserve unity and avoid dissension, while acknowledging that uniformity is not required and diversity of opinion is encouraged (Ephesians 4:3, 11-13).

  12. All parties have the right to legal counsel and have the right to call witnesses.

 

Process of addressing a grievance

Step 1 - Private approach (Matthew 18:15)

  • A person who has a complaint is to first privately approach the person or people whom the complaint is against and communicate the complaint (verbally or in writing). The opportunity for face-to-face dialogue must be provided. If the person who has grieved the other responds positively to the airing of the complaint the person with the complaint is to allow an agreed upon period of time to ensure that the complaint is resolved.

  • If a student is concerned about negative repercussions from voicing a complaint to a teacher, that student is encouraged to have his/her parents join him/her for the meeting with the teacher.

  • If the agreed-upon time passes without steps being taken toward resolution or if the person who is approached responds inappropriately and does not agree to resolve the issue, it may be necessary to proceed to step 2.

 

 

Step 2- With others (Matthew 18:16)

  • If resolution is not reached, the person with the complaint, along with one or two witnesses, should set a mutually convenient time with the person or people whom the complaint is against. During this meeting, the person with the complaint will communicate the complaint verbally, again giving opportunity for dialogue. If the person who has grieved the other responds positively to the airing of the complaint, the person with the complaint is to allow an agreed upon period of time to ensure that the complaint is resolved.

  • If the agreed-upon time passes without steps being taken toward resolution or if the person who is approached refuses to meet or responds inappropriately and does not agree to resolve the issue, it may be necessary to proceed to step 3.

 

 

Step 3 - Lead Teacher (Matthew 18:17)

  • If resolution is still not reached, the person with the complaint and the witnesses should approach the lead teacher of the person or people whom the complaint is against and share the complaint.

  • The lead teacher will research the complaint, talk with all primary parties, and act upon the complaint in a timely manner. Then the lead teacher will set up a meeting with the two parties involved, again giving opportunity for dialogue. The lead teacher will document the process. Before proceeding to the next step, the party (parties) with the complaint must allow an agreed-upon period of time to pass so that resolution may be reached.

  • If the agreed-upon time passes without steps being taken toward resolution or if the lead teacher refuses to meet, responds inappropriately, or does not agree to resolve the issue, it may be necessary to proceed to step 4.

 

 

Step 4 - Principal

  • If resolution is still not reached at the lead teacher level, the complaint may be taken to the principal. A copy of the lead teacher’s documentation is to be given to the principal. The principal will communicate with the lead teacher, act upon the grievance, document his/her decision, and report his/her decision to all parties involved.

  • If the agreed-upon time passes without steps being taken toward resolution or if the principal refuses to meet, responds inappropriately, or does not agree to resolve the issue, it may be necessary to proceed to step 5.

 

 

Step 5 - Head of School

  • If resolution is not reached at the principal level, the complaint may be taken to the head of school. A written, dated, and signed statement of the grievance should be presented by the person with a complaint to the head of school. A copy of the lead teacher’s and principal’s documentation is to be given to the head of school.

  • The head of school will act upon the grievance, document his/her decision, and report his/her decision to all parties involved. The head of school will notify the person with the grievance when the issue has been finalized. It is unlikely that the head of school will be able to discuss the details of the resolution. The administration and staff are expected to respond courteously to complaints, but it will be up to the administration’s judgment as to how they handle the grievance. The complaint may not be resolved in the way the reporter desires; however, the reporter should accept the decision of the head of school and cease the complaint.

  • Reporters are to be dealt with at the administrative level, going no higher than the head of school. However, it may be necessary to proceed to step 5, grievance appeal to the school board, in the following cases:

 

       ○ if the agreed-upon time passes without steps being taken toward resolution,

       ○ if the head of school refuses to meet,

       ○ if the head of school responds inappropriately,

       ○ or if the head of school refuses to resolve the issue and does not explain that the complaint has already been dealt with by the                      administration.

 

 

Step 6 - Board

  • If resolution is not reached at the head of school level, the reporter may take a grievance appeal to the school board chair.

  • The school board chair will request related documentation from the head of school and report to the executive committee.

  • The board executive committee will determine if it is appropriate for the grievance appeal to be heard by the whole board. If it is, the board will act upon the grievance and record the proceedings. If it is not, all parties will be notified.

  • All board decisions are final. Those who persist in a grievance (by either word or deed) after the board’s decision has been communicated will be subject to discipline, up to the point of being asked to leave the school.