Discrimination & Harassment Complaint (Grievance) Procedure
DiscriminationThe Sullivan County BOCES does not discriminate on the basis of an individual's actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, religious practice, national origin, ethnic group, sex (including sexual harassment and sexual violence), gender, gender identity, sexual orientation (the term "sexual orientation" means heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality ), political affiliation, age, marital status, military status, veteran status, disability, weight, domestic violence victim status, arrest or conviction record, genetic information or any other basis prohibited by New York state and/or federal non-discrimination laws in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.
The Sullivan County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (SC BOCES) is committed to creating and maintaining a working and learning environment that is free of discrimination and harassment. All complaints of discrimination and harassment will be thoroughly investigated to determine whether the totality of the alleged behavior and circumstances may constitute harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, or a form of misconduct. This procedure outlines the steps a complainant should take in order to have his/her complaint investigated and resolved.
Scope and Reference:
This procedure applies to all students and employees of the SC BOCES. Refer to Policy #’s 2420, 5120, and 6460. This procedure should not be confused with or substituted for items and grievance procedures covered under SC BOCES employee collective bargaining agreements.
Jennifer DeFrank District Office
Compliance Officer-Employee Concerns Compliance Officer-Student Concerns
15 Sullivan Avenue, Suite 1W 15 Sullivan Avenue, Suite 1W
Liberty, NY 12754 Liberty, NY 12754
(845) 295-4057 (845) 295-4016
Any student or employee in the SC BOCES who wishes to file a complaint regarding discrimination or harassment shall, if possible, make such complaint in writing using the complaint form referred to earlier.
The complaint form may be obtained by accessing the SC BOCES website homepage by clicking on the “Notice of Non-discrimination” box in the Quick Links Section.
A translation of the form is available using the “Google Translate” feature on the “Notice of Non-discrimination” page of the SC BOCES website.
The form is also available from our Human Resource office, located at 15 Sullivan Avenue Suite 1W, Liberty, NY 12754.
If unable to make the complaint in writing, students may contact a teacher, a counselor, an administrator, or the Compliance Officer. Employees may contact their supervisor, a senior manager, or the Compliance Officer to assist with putting the complaint in writing. The written complaint must be signed by the complainant, dated, and include at a minimum the following information:
Date(s), time(s), place(s) of alleged incident(s)
Alleged perpetrators of the discrimination or harassment (names, identifiers, etc.)
Description of each incident, by date
Witness, if any (names and identifying information)
Other relevant information
Desired resolution—what you’d like to see change as a result of the investigation
The written complaint form should be forwarded to the Compliance Officer by yourself or by the supervisor or administrator, supervisor, or senior manager assisting you. If forwarded to the principal or other administrator, he/she will forward the complaint form to the Compliance Officer.
The Compliance Officer or his/her designee will:
Begin a fact-finding investigation that will be prompt and equitable to all parties. The investigation may include interviews of appropriate witnesses.
Render a decision within two (2) weeks after receipt of the complaint, and notify the complainant, District Superintendent, and others who need to be advised of the decision. If additional time is needed for good cause (e.g., key witnesses cannot be interviewed in a timely manner), the decision will be made as soon as reasonably possible. If the decision is to be delayed for good cause, the complainant, District Superintendent, and other material parties shall be so notified and an estimated date for a decision will be noted.
Within one (1) week of the decision, enact or implement changes/recommendations, if any, based on the decision.
The complainant has one (1) week to accept or appeal the decision.
a. Accept the decision: By notifying the Compliance Officer in writing.
b. Disagree with the decision: Appeal the decision by notifying the Compliance Officer or the District Superintendent in writing (see First Appeal Level below).
c. If complainant fails to notify the Compliance Officer or the District Superintendent of his/her acceptance or disagreement with the decision, it will be assumed that the resolution is acceptable, and the Compliance Officer will ensure the changes/recommendations are implemented appropriately.
First Appeal level: District Superintendent
The Compliance Officer will forward all materials, including the letter requesting the appeal of the initial decision, to the District Superintendent for review.
The District Superintendent or his/her designee will schedule a meeting within two (2) weeks of receipt of the request for review/appeal.
The participants at the scheduled meeting shall be, at minimum, the complainant, the Compliance Officer, and the District Superintendent and/or his/her designee. The accused may be in attendance, as well.
The District Superintendent or his/her designee shall conduct a prompt, impartial, equitable, and thorough review of the materials. He/she shall have the right to re-interview witnesses, e.g., if the testimony is unclear or new evidence has been brought to light, or to interview additional witnesses if needed to ensure an equitable decision.
The District Superintendent or his/her designee will present his/her decision within three (3) weeks after the meeting of the parties unless additional time is needed for good cause. If additional time is needed, material parties shall be so notified and provided with an estimated date of the appeal decision.
The decision of the District Superintendent or his/her designee shall be in writing and sent to the complainant, the accused, the supervisor of the department, and the Compliance Officer.
The complainant has one (1) week to accept or appeal the District Superintendent’s decision. The complainant shall notify the District Superintendent’s office in writing whether he/she accepts or wishes to appeal the decision. If the complainant fails to notify the District Superintendent or the Compliance officer of his/her acceptance or disagreement with the decision, it will be assumed that the resolution is acceptable, and the Compliance Officer will ensure the changes /recommendations are implemented appropriately.
Second Appeal: Board of Education:
Should the complainant not be satisfied with the District Superintendent’s decision and wish to pursue the matter further, the complainant shall compose a letter stating his/her reason for disagreement with the District Superintendent’s decision and request an appeal. The letter of the appeal should be sent to the Board of Education in addition to the District Superintendent’s office and the Compliance Officer. A record should be made of the date the letter is sent by the complainant, and the date the Board of Education received the letter requesting a further review.
The Board of Education shall hire or appoint persons who are impartial and who have not been otherwise involved in the investigation of this complainant to conduct a prompt, fair, equitable, and thorough investigation. The person(s) hired or appointed to conduct this investigation will be knowledgeable in civil rights laws pertaining to the alleged violation by the complainant and be knowledgeable in conducting investigations of alleged violations of the said law(s).
A decision shall be made by the Board of Education based upon the recommendations and findings of the investigator(s) appointed by the Board of Education within five (5)weeks from the date of the complainant’s letter requesting a further review is received. If a decision cannot be made within five (5) weeks for good cause, material parties shall be so notified with an estimated date for the decision to be made.
If a complainant is dissatisfied with the Board of Education’s decision, he/she must request a review by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within sixty (60) days of the Board of Education’s decision. If the complainant fails to notify the Board of Education of his/her acceptance or disagreement with the decision, it will be assumed that the resolution is acceptable, and the Compliance Officer will ensure the changes/recommendations are implemented appropriately.
Concurrent Appeals or Appeal of the Board of Education Appeal:
A complainant can, while the investigation is happening at the school level, also contact any of the following agencies and request that an independent investigation be conducted.
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)-Enforcement Office
U.S. Department of Education
32 Old Slip, 26thFloor
New York, NY 10005-2500
NYS Civil Liberties Union
126 Broad Street, 19thFloor
New York, NY 10004