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D-180-AR: Resolution of Complaints/Concerns Regarding Division Staff

References:

  • D-180
  • D-180-BR
  • A-150 Discrimination and Harassment
  • Healthy Interactions Program

  1. Definitions:
    1. Healthy Interactions Program – is a program developed by the division in collaboration with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and Canadian Union of Public Employees to handle complaints and concerns.  The key to the Healthy Interactions Program is that all parties recognize that they generally share the same goal, although they may approach it from different perspectives.  Healthy Interactions focuses on opening up the lines of communication and finding the common goal before issues develop into complex conflicts.
    2. Complaint/Concern Resolution – is the process of handling a complaint or concern about a division employee that does not fall under the division’s Harassment policy. The process is based on the Healthy Interactions Program where:
      1. Complaints/concerns are dealt with in an open, honest manner as close as possible to the source;
      2. Complaints/concerns are defined so all people involved have a clear understanding of the problem;
      3. Interests of all parties involved (parents/guardians, teachers, support staff, administrators, students and others) are identified;
      4. Alternative solutions are considered;
      5. An action plan is developed; and
      6. Follow-up action as necessary is taken.
    3. Administrative Review and Plan of Action – This process is utilized when an administrator or supervisor determines that the standard complaint/concern resolution process is considered inappropriate for the situation, the participants refuse to participate, or the process has been unsuccessful.
  2. Complaint/Concern Resolution Process:
    1. On the basis of the principle of “first contact”, stakeholders must address concerns directly with the person who is the object of the complaint before taking the issue to the next level of responsibility.
    2. Complaints/concerns regarding division staff should be treated seriously and every attempt should be made to resolve them at the appropriate level (see board regulation 1.3).
    3. When resolving complaints/concerns the following process is encouraged:
      1. schedule an appropriate time to meet;
      2. establish a positive environment (set ground rules);
      3. define the problem;
      4. determine and clarify each other’s interests;
      5. generate solution alternatives;
      6. develop action plan; and
      7. if appropriate, establish follow-up action.
    4. If satisfaction is not achieved at one level, the complaint/concern may proceed to the next level.  The following protocol can be used as a guideline for the order in which the matter should be addressed:
      1. staff member who is the object of the complaint/concern;
      2. principal or supervisor;
      3. system administrator – individual delegated responsibility in the applicable area;
      4. superintendent of schools.
    5. Notwithstanding the above, should the individual disagree with the decision of the superintendent, the individual may ask the board to hear an appeal of the administrative decision (board procedure B-150-BP, Appeals).
    6. When formal documentation is deemed necessary the form entitled, “A Process for Resolution” (Appendix A), may be utilized.  When formal documentation is prepared, regardless of the format chosen, it is to be forwarded to the next level should the complaint or concern proceed.
    7. Complaints/concerns should be viewed as an opportunity for improvement. If a complaint/concern is unfounded, it is an opportunity to improve understanding.  If a complaint/concern is founded on an error, omission, improper act, procedure or policy, it is an opportunity to rectify the situation.  Ongoing concerns or chronic complaints should be reported to the Superintendent or designate.
  3. Administrative Review:
    1. When the complaint/concern resolution process does not result in a satisfactory plan of action or when one or more parties refuses to take part in the resolution, or when the administrator or supervisor does not feel the complaint/concern resolution process is appropriate for the situation, he/she may choose to deal with the situation through an administrative review.
    2. Consistent with the responsibility delegated to the supervisor and site administrator through board policy A-140, Site-Based Decision Making and related statutes and regulations, the site administrator or supervisor will attempt to utilize his/her reasoned professional judgment to:
      1. separate and, where appropriate, isolate issues;
      2. determine whether an in-depth investigation is required. If a more in-depth investigation is deemed to be required, the administrator or supervisor will develop the terms of reference that will guide the investigation and, where appropriate, share the terms of reference with the parties involved;
      3. identify the issues where action is required; 
      4. identify the action that is to be recommended or directed. Any administrative directives must be in writing; and 
      5. depending on the nature of the situation the directives or recommendations may focus on teachers, support staff, administrators, students, volunteers, parents/guardians and/or other stakeholders.