A22-Procedure: Grievance Protocol Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • arrow Related: See Notice of Non-Discrimination

    It is the policy of Essex Westford School District (hereinafter referred to as “District”) not to discriminate on the basis of disability. The District has adopted this internal protocol for prompt handling and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Section 504 and the ADA prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The District further provides assurance that strictly prohibits any form of retaliation against persons who utilize this Protocol. To the extent possible, confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigation of a complaint of unlawful discrimination. Nevertheless, a person is not required to use this protocol and may instead file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Office for Civil Rights, Boston Office:

    U.S. Department of Education
    8th Floor
    5 Post Office Square
    Boston, MA 02109-3921

    The following protocol is available and shall be distributed to all third parties for their use in filing complaints of discrimination based on disability.

    This protocol will be distributed by the Building 504 Coordinators or their designees to all employees prior to the start of co-curricular activities every school year, preferably during the August In – Service, and again with the recommencement of co-curricular activities immediately following the December vacation.

    It will also be distributed by Building 504 Coordinators, or their designees, to all third parties, at the time of their engagement for services.

    Step 1 A person (an employee, student, or third party) who believes that he/she has been discriminated against by the District is encouraged, but is not required, to discuss the matter informally with the appropriate building principal (when the person is a student) or with his/her immediate supervisor (when the person is an employee). NOTE: If the building principal or the immediate supervisor is the subject of the complaint, or the grievant is not a student or employee, the grievant may, instead, contact the District Section 504 Coordinator, Erin Maguire, mailing address: 58 Founders Road, Essex Junction, VT 05452, email address: emaguire@ewsd.org, office phone number: 802-857-8018, fax 802.878.5190. The person receiving the complaint, or their designee, shall investigate and then verbally convey his/her findings to both the person who alleged the violation and the person who is the subject of the complaint within 10 business days.

    Step 2 If the informal Step 1 process does not resolve the matter, OR if the grievant does not wish to use the informal procedures set forth in Step 1, a written complaint may be submitted to the either the District Section 504 Coordinator, Erin Maguire, mailing address: 58 Founders Road, Essex Junction, VT 05452, email address: emaguire@ewsd.org, office phone number: 802-857-8018, fax 802.878.5190 or the appropriate school specific Building 504 Coordinator (see list at the end of this document for contact information) who will investigate the complaint. [NOTE: If the Section 504 Coordinator is the subject of the complaint, the complaint should be submitted to the Superintendent who will appoint another administrator (or third party) to conduct the investigation. If both the Section 504 Coordinator and the Superintendent have involvement with the complaint, the written complaint may be submitted to Deb Anderson, Director of Human Resource, mailing address: 51 Park Street, Essex Junction, VT 05452, email address: danderson@ewsd.org, office phone: 802-857-7019, fax 802-878-5190 or the District School Board: Board Chair, 58 Founders Road, Essex Junction, VT 05452, office phone number: 802-857-8168, fax 802.878.5190

    The complaint shall be in writing and signed by the grievant and include:

    1. the grievant’s name and contact information;
    2. the facts of the incident or action complained about;
    3. the date of the incident or action giving rise to the complaint;
    4. the type of discrimination alleged to have occurred;
    5. and the specific relief sought;

    Or, alternatively, the grievant may use the 504 Complaint Form (attached). Names of witnesses and other evidence as deemed appropriate by the grievant may also be submitted. An investigation of the complaint will begin within 10 business days following the submission of the written complaint.

    The investigation may be informal, but it must be thorough and shall include an interview of the parties and witnesses, a review of relevant evidence, and any other steps necessary to ensure a prompt and thorough investigation of the complaint.

    A written disposition of the complaint shall be issued within 10 business days of completion of the investigation, unless a specific written extension of time is provided to the parties.

    Copies of the disposition, subject to FERPA confidentiality, will be given to both the grievant and the person who is the subject of the complaint. If discrimination was found to have occurred, the disposition will include the steps that the District will take to prevent recurrence of any discrimination and to correct its discriminatory effects on the grievant and others, if appropriate.

    Step 3 If the grievant wishes to appeal the decision in Step 2, he/she may submit a signed, written appeal to the Superintendent (or Board if the Supt. is the subject of the complaint) within 15 business days after receipt of the written disposition. The Superintendent/Board or his/her designee shall respond to the complaint, in writing, within 30 business days of the date of the appeal. Copies of the response shall be provided to both the grievant and the person who is the subject of the complaint.

    The ADA/504 Coordinator(s) will maintain the files and records related to any complaints filed under this protocol.

    The District hereby provides assurance that strictly prohibits any form of retaliation against persons who utilize this Protocol. The District will make appropriate arrangements to ensure that disabled persons are provided other accommodations, if needed, to participate in this grievance process. Such arrangements may include but are not limited to, providing interpreters for the deaf, providing taped cassettes of material for the blind, or assuring a barrier-free location for the proceedings. The Section 504 Coordinator will be responsible for such arrangements.

    If you have questions regarding these procedures or desire to file a complaint, please contact the either the District 504 Coordinator or Building Section 504 Coordinator.

    EWSD Oversight: Erin Maguire and Dylan McNamara, Co-Directors of Student Support Services –

    District phone number: 802-857-8168, Fax: 802-878-5190

    Summit Street Elementary School: Suzanne Gruendling, Principal
    Email: sgruendling@ewsd.org, phone number: 802-857-7656, Fax: 802-878-1380

    Hiawatha Elementary School: Katherine Grykien, Principal
    Email: kgrykien@ewsd.org, phone number: 802-878-1384, Fax: 802-879-8190

    Essex Elementary School: Ashley Gray, Principal.
    Email: agray@ewsd.org, phone number: 802-878-2584, Fax:

    Founders Memorial School: Wendy Cobb, Principal
    Email: wcobb@ewsd.org, phone number: 802:879-6326, Fax: 802-879-6139

    Thomas Fleming Elementary School, Matthew Roy, Principal
    Email: mroy@ewsd.org, phone number: 802-878-1381, Fax: 802-879-5598

    Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School: Jennifer Wood, Principal
    Email: jwood@ewsd.org, phone number: 802-878-1388, Fax: 802-879-8175

    Essex Middle School: Kevin Briggs, Principal
    Email: kbriggs@ewsd.org, phone number: 802-879-7173, Fax: 802-879-1363

    Essex High School: Jackie Lynch, 504 Coordinator
    Email: jlynch@ewsd.org, phone number: 802-879-7121, Fax: 802-879-5503

    Center for Technology Essex, Robert Travers, Principal
    Email: rtravers@ewsd.org, phone number: 802-879-5558, Fax: 802-879-5593