Concerns & Complaint Procedures

Addressing a Concern

Parents/guardians enjoy great relationships with their student’s teachers, principal, and other professionals at school. However, sometimes questions or concerns arise. When this happens, what should you do? Here’s a simple guide to La Mesa-Spring Valley’s complaint resolution process. Keep in mind everyone has the same goal: the student’s best interests.

  1. Start with school staff
    Start with your student’s teacher, counselor, social worker, nurse or other professional. Disputes and misunderstandings are often best resolved in person and may be the result of miscommunication. Often, misunderstandings can be cleared up or issues addressed through a courteous conversation at the school level. 
  2. If the issue isn’t resolved, talk to the principal
    You may feel you were unable to resolve the issue with school staff. In this case, you should schedule a meeting or phone call to discuss the situation with your school’s assistant principal or principal. 
  3. Last step, contact the school district
    If you still feel there has not been a satisfactory resolution after exhausting all efforts in the steps outlined above, including discussing the situation with the principal,  please contact the Student Supports Department at (619)668-5700. If you have not taken the steps above to resolve the issue with the school, you may be referred back to the school site.

Young people learn how to handle real-life situations from the  behavior exhibited by the adults around them. As a district, we strive to model for students how to resolve issues in a courteous, respectful, and effective way.

How to Resolve a Complaint

The first step in resolving a complaint is to start with the process outlined above. Some issues may need to follow a more formal process and may fall under the Uniform Complaint Procedures or Williams Complaint as outlined below. 

What is a Uniform Complaints Procedures (UCP) complaint? 
For students, employees, parents or guardians of its students, school and district advisory committees, appropriate private school officials or representatives, and other interested parties, the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District has the primary responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations and has established procedures to address allegations of unlawful discrimination and complaints alleging violation of state and federal laws governing educational programs. 

A Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) complaint is a written statement alleging discrimination, harassment, or a violation of a federal or state law or regulation. A UCP complaint must be filed by way of the Uniform Complaint Procedures as written in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Sections 4600-4687. Issues that may involve filing a complaint using the UCP are under various state and federal programs that use categorical funds such as Child Care and Development Programs, Child Nutrition Programs, Consolidated Categorical Aid Programs, Federal Safety Planning Requirements, Migrant Education, and Special Education Programs. The UCP process will also be used when addressing complaints alleging failure to comply with the prohibition against requiring students to pay fees and other charges for participating in educational activities. Detailed information, including complaint forms, timelines, and the appeal process, can be found below. 

Annual Notice (English) | UCP Form (English)
Annual Notice (Spanish) | UCP Form (Spanish)

Williams Settlement Complaints 
Education Code 35186 created a procedure for the filing of complaints concerning deficiencies related to instructional materials, conditions of facilities that are not maintained in a clean or safe manner or in good repair, and teacher vacancy or misassignment. The complaint and its response are public documents as provided by statute. Complaints may be filed anonymously; however, if a response is requested, contact information shall be provided. Williams complaint forms are available, but the District will not reject a complaint if the form is not used as long as the complaint is submitted in writing.  

The following links provide a copy of the notice that can be found in every classroom, and the forms used to file a complaint related to the Williams Settlement:

Annual Notice (English) | Williams Complaint Form (English)
Annual Notice (Spanish) | Williams Complaint Form (Spanish)

All complaints must be filed in writing with the District compliance officer:
Jennifer Coronel
Director, Student Supports
4750 Date Avenue, La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 668-5700

Additional Information and Resources

California Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity
California Department of Education Uniform Complaint Procedures
US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

Hate Motivated Behavior, Non-Discrimination/Harassment, Title IX

The Governing Board is committed to providing a safe learning environment that protects students from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, and other behavior motivated by a person’s hostility towards another person’s real or perceived ethnicity, national origin, immigrant status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, or any other physical or cultural characteristic. The Superintendent or designee shall design strategies to promote harmonious relationships among students, prevent incidents of hate-motivated behavior to the extent possible, and address such incidents if they occur.

Policy 5145.9: Hate-Motivated Behavior
Bullying Prevention Resources

Policy 5145.3 Non-Discrimination/Harassment
Regulation 5145.3 Non-Discrimination/Harassment

State Resources
Below is a regional list of California organizations providing support to the youth and their families who have been subjected to school-related discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying. This also includes resources for youths affected by gangs, gun violence, and psychological trauma caused by violence at home, school, and in the community. The California Department of Education (CDE) provides these lists of support organizations for individuals or families seeking assistance with discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying and youths affected by gangs, gun violence, and psychological trauma caused by violence at home, school, and in the community, with questions or concerns. In providing these links, the CDE does not endorse and makes no guarantees or warranties whatsoever concerning the linked Web sites nor any organizations or individuals associated with these Websites. Individuals or families considering utilizing any of these support organizations are encouraged to conduct sufficient research to determine which organization(s) are suitable for their specific situation and needs.

Regional List

What is Title IX?
Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.

Additional Title IX Resources

District Coordinator – Jennifer Coronel
4750 Date Ave, La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 669-5700

Your rights under the law:

  • You have the right to fair and equitable treatment and you shall not be discriminated against based on your sex.
  • You have the right to be provided with an equitable opportunity to participate in all academic extracurricular activities, including athletics.
  • You have the right to inquire of the athletic director of your school as to the athletic opportunities offered by the school.
  • You have the right to apply for athletic scholarships.
  • You have the right to receive equitable treatment and benefits in the provision of all of the following:
    • Equipment and supplies.
    • Scheduling of games and practices.
    • Transportation and daily allowances.
    • Access to tutoring.
    • Coaching.
    • Locker rooms.
    • Practice and competitive facilities.
    • Medical and training facilities and services.
    • Publicity.
  • You have the right to have access to a gender equity coordinator to answer questions regarding gender equity laws.
  • You have the right to contact the State Department of Education and the California Interscholastic Federation to access information on gender equity laws.
  • You have the right to file a confidential discrimination complaint with the United States Office of Civil Rights or the State Department of Education if you believe you have been discriminated against or if you believe you have received unequal treatment on the basis of your sex.
  • You have the right to pursue civil remedies if you have been discriminated against.
  • You have the right to be protected against retaliation if you file a discrimination complaint.

When must a complaint be filed?
The complaint shall be initiated no later than six months from the date when the alleged unlawful discrimination occurred, or six months from the date when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged unlawful discrimination. The time for filing may be extended for up to 90 days by the Superintendent or designee for good cause upon written request by the complainant setting forth the reasons for the extension. (5 CCR 4630)

Filing a complaint:
The complaint shall be presented to the compliance officer who shall maintain a log of complaints received, providing each with a code number and a date stamp. For complaints regarding Title IX, you may complete a Uniform Complaint using the links above.

In addition, the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights has additional information on their website. A complaint must ordinarily be filed within 180 days of the last act of discrimination. If your complaint involves matters that occurred longer ago than this and you are requesting a waiver, you will be asked to show good cause why you did not file your complaint within the 180-day period. You may also contact the Office of Civil Rights at 800-421-3481 or
United States Department of Education – Office of Civil Rights
United States Department of Education – OCR Complaint Form

Bullying Prevention

The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District prohibits any discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying of any student based on the student’s actual race, color, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression; the perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Prohibited discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying includes physical, verbal, nonverbal, or written conduct based on one of the categories listed above that is so severe and pervasive that it affects a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity; creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or offensive educational environment; has the effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with a student’s academic performance; or otherwise adversely affects a student’s educational opportunities.

Bullying is the repeated actions or threats of action directed toward a person by one or more people who have or are perceived to have more power or status than their target in order to cause fear, distress or harm.
Cyberbullying is the intentional and repeated mistreatment of others through the use of technology, such as computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.

Every Conflict Isn’t Bullying
Best-selling author and bullying prevention expert Rosalind Wiseman has partnered with the Anti-Defamation League to develop bullying prevention resources for parents and educators. In addition, he addresses the distinction between drama, or conflict–and bullying. Learn more here.

What Bullying is…What Bullying is Not…
Repeated aggressive behavior
Intended to cause harm (physical or emotional)
An attempt by one or more individuals to gain power over another
Physical: Hitting, kicking, pushing, destroying property
Verbal/Written: Threatening, name-calling, teasing, taunting
Social/Emotional: Terrorizing, spreading rumors, intimidating, humiliating, blackmailing, isolating
Cyber-bullying: Using technology to bully others verbally, emotionally and/or socially
Not liking someone
Accidentally bumping into someone
A single act of telling a joke about someone
Expression of unpleasant thoughts or feelings regarding others
Arguments or disagreements
Being excluded from a game or group on the playground (unless being done regularly and with intention to hurt the feelings of another)
Isolated acts of harassment, aggressive behavior, intimidation or meanness

Filing a Report
Note: This reporting tool is designed solely for student-to-student bullying related incidents. All other bullying incidents may be referred to the District Office.

Students, parents, and community members are encouraged to notify school staff when students are being bullied by another student(s). When the circumstances involve cyber-bullying, individuals with information about the activity shall be encouraged to save and print any electronic or digital messages sent to them that they feel constitute cyber-bullying.

Reasonable efforts will be made to keep a report of bullying or harassment and the result of the investigation confidential. The Board also prohibits any form of retaliation against any student who files a complaint or report regarding an incident of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying.

False Reports and Statements
Intentionally false reports, use of the complaint process, or statement to defame a fellow student or staff member for any illegitimate reason, will result in disciplinary consequences.
Student Bullying Incident Reporting System (bDTS)

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