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Comment: Proposed Student Grievance Procedure 2013

In comments for District of Columbia Public Schools, Children’s Law Center suggests revisions to make the Student Grievance Procedures fair and accessible to all DCPS students. The proposed regulations provide an excellent framework for resolving complaints informally, but Children’s Law Center believes they do not provide sufficient legal protection for students whose complaints cannot be resolved informally and must file formal grievances. Read a summary below or review the full comments as submitted.

The proposed grievance procedures fail to guarantee many important procedural due process rights, some of which are specifically required by federal law and guidance. Specifically, the grievance procedures omit the right to adequate notice, the right to an impartial hearing, the right to call witnesses on the student’s behalf, the right to cross-examination of witnesses, the right to respond to allegations against the student, the right to a free audio transcript of the proceedings, and the right to a meaningful opportunity to appeal. Children’s Law Center makes several recommendations to address these deficiencies.

The proposed procedures also lack safeguards to protect the ability of all students and their families to access the procedures. First, the procedures fail to require that DCPS provide public notice of the procedures to students and their families. Second, the procedures do not include protections to help low-literacy or non-English-speaking families initiate the formal grievance procedures.