As a general rule, all complaints should be investigated, even when the complainant requests that nothing be done or is anonymous.
Step 1: Before the Investigation
- A. According to policy 2:260, Uniform Grievance Procedure, the Superintendent appoints at least two Complaint Managers, one of each gender. The District Complaint Manager investigates: (1) complaints filed under policy 2:260, Uniform Grievance Procedure, and (2) allegations of employee misconduct.
- B. The appropriate Building Principal or designee investigates all allegations of student misconduct.
- C. Anyone with a complaint or making an allegation of misconduct should be referred to the Complaint Manager or Building Principal without delay.
- D. A Complaint Manager or Building Principal (hereafter referred to as “investigator”) will investigate all complaints or allegations of misconduct, except that, depending on the circumstances, the Superintendent may appoint a special investigator. An investigator should not have any involvement with the complainant or the alleged wrongdoer. The Superintendent will ensure that investigators have sufficient authority and resources, including access to the Board Attorney.
- E. The investigator should provide a fair opportunity for both sides to be heard.
- F. The investigator should begin by carefully reading the complaint. Next the investigator should review applicable School Board policies, administrative procedures and manuals, laws, regulations, and collective bargaining agreements.
- G. The investigator should develop a plan, including:
- Witness list
- Order of interviews
- Questions for witnesses
- Physical evidence needed, e.g., records, documents, reports, photos, and letters
- H. The investigator should make logistical arrangements, e.g., determine interview location and the need for photographs and/or a video or audio recording.
Step 2: The Investigation
Step 3: Following the Investigation
- A. Typically, interview the complainant first, next the subject of the investigation, and, finally, all witnesses. The following applies to all interviews:
- If possible, statements should be written, dated, and signed by the person being interviewed.
- Ask open-ended questions and do not suggest answers to questions.
- Record important details, essentially who, did what, to whom, when and how done and, if appropriate, why?
- Be objective and nonjudgmental; do not prejudge an alleged wrongdoer’s guilt. Never show outrage or dismay.
- Ask for the names of any other witnesses.
- Deal with emotional outbursts and anger by patiently explaining that details are needed for an accurate investigation.
- If a witness cannot be interviewed, record the reason.
- B. While confidentiality should be maintained, do not make promises of confidentiality or anonymity. Only the Superintendent may promise confidentiality or anonymity.
- C. Keep the Superintendent informed, but do not discuss the investigation with Board members in order to avoid the appearance of prejudice or unfairness.
- D. Obtain copies of all necessary papers. Originals are not needed, but record how to get them.
- E. Collect physical evidence and photographs. Keep a record of when, and where, or from whom physical evidence was gathered.
- F. Document everything about the interview, including the person’s demeanor, gestures, accuracy of memory, and overall credibility.
- G. During the investigation, keep the investigation file separate from personnel or student record files. In a subsequent hearing, the opposing side may be able to view the investigation file.
- A. Report to the Superintendent or designee the investigation results, that is, the matters investigated, facts, conclusions, and recommendations. Prepare a written report if requested.
- Answer who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Factual findings are based on whether an incident’s occurrence is more likely than not. Identify as many factual findings as possible to support a conclusion. In a “he said, she said” scenario, a decision can be based on the credibility of the parties and witnesses. Include in the report any findings that are inconclusive.
- Make a determination regarding credibility of specific evidence, that is, how believable is it and why. Credible evidence is capable of belief by a reasonable person.
- B. Be prepared to testify as to the fairness of the investigation, the authenticity of the evidence, and the contents of the investigation report.
Reviewed: October 24, 2005; January 18, 2011
Adopted: October 24, 2005
Revisions Adopted: February 7, 2011