What is a complaint?

Generally, a complaint is an oral or written statement alleging a violation of federal or state laws or regulations, which may include an allegation of unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying. A complaint can be pursued by following the complaint procedures listed below. If the complainant is unable to put the complaint in writing, due to conditions such as a disability or illiteracy, District staff shall assist the complainant in the writing of the complaint.

How to file a complaint
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Title IX Complaints

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et. seq. (Title IX) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities that receive or benefit from Federal financial assistance. Generally, a school district may not excuse, deny or provide different or lesser services to applicants or beneficiaries on the basis of sex. Sex discrimination includes a hostile environment created by sexual harassment or sexual violence in the educational setting.

Title IX complaints may be pursued in several ways:

  1. Report an incident to a school district employee or Principal
  2. Send an email to complianceofficer@pausd.org
  3. Follow the Title IX Grievance Procedures explained in Section I of the District’s Administrative Regulation 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedures
  4. If you want to file an anonymous complaint, complete and submit the anonymous Title IX complaint form

The Title IX Compliance Officer for the District is:

Megan Farrell
Title IX Compliance Officer
Palo Alto Unified School District
25 Churchill Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 833-4248
ComplianceOfficer@pausd.org

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UCP Complaints

The Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) apply to complaints alleging a violation of applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs. The UCP shall be used to investigate and resolve allegations involving unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, (such as sexual harassment, sexual violence or harassment based on a protected characteristic), intimidation, or bullying.

The UCP also shall be used for allegations of a violation of specific federal and state programs that use categorical funds, such as Adult Education, After School Education and Safety, Agricultural Vocational Education, American Indian Education Centers, American Indian Early Childhood Education, Career Technical Education, Child Care and Development, Consolidated Categorical Aid, Foster Youth Services, Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control Accountability Plans, Migrant Education, Nutrition Services, Regional Occupational Centers, School Facilities, Special Education, Tobacco-Use Prevention Education, and Unlawful Pupil Fees. A full list of complaints covered by the UCP can be found under Board Policy 1312.3.

UCP complaints can be filed by completing the complaint form and returning it to:

Megan Farrell 
Title IX Compliance Officer 
Palo Alto Unified School District 
25 Churchill Ave 
Palo Alto, CA 94306 
(650) 833-4248 
ComplianceOfficer@pausd.org

More information about the UCP process is available from the California Department of Education.

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Williams Complaints

A Williams Complaint, another type of UCP complaint, regards instructional materials, emergency or urgent facilities conditions that pose a threat to the health and safety of pupils, and teacher vacancy or misassignment and may be filed anonymously. Williams Complaints are filed with the principal, or their designee, of the school in which the complaint arises. Schools have complaint forms available for these types of complaints, but will not reject a complaint if the form is not used as long as the complaint is submitted in writing. Additional procedures are defined in Administrative Regulation 1312.4.

Williams complaints can be filed by completing the complaint form and returning it to:

Superintendent's Office
Palo Alto Unified School District
25 Churchill Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 833-4262
superintendent@pausd.org

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Concerns regarding school district employees

Concerns raised by parents/guardians about school district personnel should be resolved as quickly as possible. Therefore, parents or guardians of students in the PAUSD are urged to discuss their concerns directly with the employee(s) in question when concerns surface.

Additional procedures are defined by Board Policy 1312.1 and Administrative Regulation 1312.1