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Investigation and Resolution Processes

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Privacy and Safety from Retaliation

APS will respect the privacy of the complainant, the respondent and witnesses, as much as possible, consistent with our legal obligations. No individual can be retaliated against or coerced for being a witness, providing information related to an investigation or participating in any manner in the resolution or in the process leading to the resolution of a complaint.

Retaliation against any student or employee seeking assistance, filing a complaint or participating in the investigative process or raising concerns in good faith is reason for a subsequent retaliation complaint. Retaliatory conduct may also be referred to the administration for appropriate action.

What Can EOS Investigate?

EOS is authorized to investigate all civil rights violations including:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Retaliation for complaining about a civil rights violation
  • Participation in a civil rights investigation only
  • Discrimination or harassment on the basis of:
    • Color
    • Race
    • National Origin
    • Ethnicity
    • Sex/gender
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Age
    • Religion
    • Veteran Status
    • Disability
    • Other protected status as defined by civil rights law

If your complaint is not something we can investigate, we will try to direct you to the appropriate place to get help.

Investigation

Equal Opportunity Services shall oversee that an adequate, reliable and impartial investigation of the complaint is conducted by an investigator at the work site and/or where the alleged discrimination occurred.

In conducting the investigation, the investigator shall interview all parties identified in the complaint and other witnesses that the investigator determines may provide information relevant to resolving the complaint allegation(s).  Both the complainant and the respondent shall have the opportunity to identify witnesses to be interviewed and provide documentation or other evidence for the investigator to review.

The investigator shall consider the evidence compiled and take whatever additional actions necessary to complete the investigation.

The complainant and/or respondent will be informed of the status of the investigation at regular intervals.  However, at any given time during the on-going investigation process, the complainant and/or respondent may request a status update on the current complaint.  This may be requested in writing directly to Equal Opportunity Services.   

 

Investigation Timeline

An investigation will generally be completed within forty-five (45) business days. In some cases, the investigation may take longer. However, EOS will make every reasonable effort to complete investigations within appropriate timelines.

Complaints to an External Agency

If a party is not satisfied at any time, including with the superintendent’s decision, the party may file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) in Denver, Colorado.  More information is available at the Office of Civil Rights, Federal Office, 1244 Speer Blvd, Suite 310, Denver, CO  80204-3582, (303) 844-5695. Individuals may also file complaints with any other civil rights entities such as the New Mexico Human Rights Division or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

After the Investigation

At the conclusion of your EOS investigation, the complainant and respondent will receive written notification of the outcome.

At the conclusion of a completed internal investigation conducted by EOS, EOS will inform the appropriate administrators of the determination. EOS will inform the appropriate administrator if the evidence supports the allegations that Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) Board policy(s), District procedural directive(s), school policy(s), APS Employee Handbook, APS Student Behavior Handbook were not followed. Concerns that have been raised that cannot be addressed by this office may also be referred to the appropriate administrator.

When the investigation is concluded by EOS, the complainant and respondent will have ten (10) working days from the date of the notification letter to submit an appeal in writing to EOS. EOS will schedule an appeal hearing with a panel of three neutral persons. The Appeal Panel may reverse, modify, or affirm the finding of EOS. The Appeal Panel may also return the matter to EOS for additional investigation. After the appeal hearing, the APS complaint process is concluded.

Notice of Resolution

Equal Opportunity Services shall notify both the complainant and respondent in writing within forty-five (45) business days from the complaint submission date of the results of the investigation.  In some cases, the investigation may take longer.  However, Equal Opportunity Services and investigator will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the investigation is completed within the appropriate timeline. Equal Opportunity Services shall oversee this process. 

Appeal Rights

A party not satisfied with the resolution may submit a written appeal within ten (10) days to EOS. Ten days shall be deemed effective on the person served as the date of delivery, if personally served, faxed or email, or effective three calendar days of deposit by first-class mail if delivered by mail. This written appeal shall state with particularity the nature of the disagreement, the reasons underlying such disagreement and how the outcome would be changed by reconsideration of the determination.

EOS shall convene an appeal panel of three (or more, if needed) neutral panel members. They shall conduct a review of the record to determine whether the preponderance of the evidence supports the determination. The panel shall issue a written decision to EOS who will send the outcome of the appeal to the parties in the same manner the original finding was sent. The appeal panel's decision is a final decision.

Disciplinary Consequences

Any individual who violates this policy by engaging in conduct defined throughout this policy that directly or indirectly causes intimidation, harassment or physical harm to another student or employee will be subject to disciplinary action.

False Complaints

Any individual who knowingly files a false or misleading complaint alleging harassment, discrimination or retaliation is subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, dismissal of the complaint.

Retaliation

Retaliation means some type of adversarial or punitive action taken against an individual or individuals as a result of filing a complaint or participating in the complaint process. An individual or individuals who make complaints in good faith shall be free from retaliation, coercion and reprisal in seeking resolution of their complaint. Furthermore, persons acting as witnesses to a complaint, in good faith, shall be free from reprisal. Retaliation against an individual seeking assistance at his/her/their work site, filing a complaint or participation in the investigation process is grounds for a subsequent retaliation/harassment complaint.

Confidentiality

APS will respect the privacy of the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed and witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the legal obligations to investigate, take appropriate action, and conform to any legal discovery or disclosure obligations. Any information gathered during an informal procedure may be used during a formal procedure, if initiated. While there can be no assurances of complete confidentiality, complaints under this procedure will be treated as sensitive information not to be shared with others except in limited circumstances. Decisions regarding confidentiality will be made by Equal Opportunity Services.

EOS Complaint Resolution Process

This process describes what happens once a complaint is reported and how it's handled. When EOS conducts an investigation, it may consist of interviews of the complainant, respondent(s) and any witnesses who may have knowledge of the wrongdoing. Additionally, other method(s) or documents may be used by the investigator. Complaints must be filed within 180 days of any wrongdoing.

1. Concern Reported

 Concerns/ complaints can be reported through the fillable Report a Concern form to discover what options are available, or submitted with the PDF complaint form(s) that's found on the Reporting a Complaint page for formal complaints.

2. Review for Jurisdiction

 Once a concern/ complaint is reported it's reviewed for jurisdiction. If it's out of jurisdiction, it's then referred out for investigation. 

3. In Jurisdiction

 In the case that it's within jurisdiction, it's processed through the following steps. No further action is need if the school investigates.

4. More Action

Formal Resolution

This results in an investigation to gather evidence to determine if the policy has been violated and if there is evidence to show policy violations, then it results in disciplinary action. A formal investigation can be beneficial if you are not interested in any non-disciplinary measures. A formal investigation can also look into the response of the school to determine if they followed the APS policy/procedural directive.

Informal Resolutions

  • Educational Conference is with the person(s) who are engaged in the alleged discriminatory or harassing behavior. This is an informal, non-disciplinary conversation where each person has a conversation with EOS staff and the appropriate authority (a school administrator or supervisor) to discuss APS policies and the reasons for our policies as well as our expectations of their behavior moving forward.
  • Mediation or other restorative conversation. These conversations are also non-disciplinary and are intended to educate the person(s) about the harm their behavior is causing. You would also participate (although possibly not directly) in the resolutions.