Dismissal, Grievance, and Complaint Policy and Procedure
Dismissal may occur in the event the participant is terminated due to violation of the Texas Professional Code (Code of Ethics) or Texas Education Code regulations, failure to comply with training requirements, insubordination, refusal to follow a staff member’s directive, lack of payment, or for other reasons deemed appropriate by a program specialist. The participant is then notified of this decision by the Director of Educator Preparation Solutions.
An intern or clinical teacher may be dismissed from the practicum or the program by violating district board policy, falsification of information or documents, failure to comply with training requirements, failure to pay fees in a timely manner, violation of the Texas Professional Code (Code of Ethics) or Texas Education Code regulations, or upon advice of legal counsel for cause. In the event of dismissal for reasons other than those related to district board policy, the intern may appeal to the Director of Educator Preparation Solutions.
A clinical teacher or intern may be removed from the program during the practicum for failure to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a professional educator or failure to meet program expectations.
If the participant does not agree with the decision of the Director of Educator Preparation Solutions, he or she may appeal to the Deputy Executive Director of Support Services within 5 business days in writing.
Complaint and Grievance Policy
A participant complaint or grievance exists when a participant claims that a violation, misapplication, or misinterpretation of an INSPIRE TEXAS program policy, procedure, or practice has occurred. A participant filing a complaint or grievance should follow the procedures outlined as follows. All timelines must be strictly adhered to and can be modified only by mutual written consent.
The Program shall make reasonable attempts to schedule conferences at a mutually agreeable time. If a program participant fails to appear at a scheduled conference, the Program may hold the conference and issue a decision in the program participant’s absence.
At Levels One and Two, “response” shall mean a written communication to the program participant from the appropriate Program employee. Responses may be hand-delivered, sent by electronic communication to the program participant’s e-mail address of record, or sent by U.S. Mail to the program participant’s mailing address of record. Mailed responses shall be timely if they are postmarked by U.S. Mail on or before the deadline.
“Days” shall mean Program business days. In calculating time lines under this policy, the day a document is filed is “day zero”. The following business day is “day one”.
COMPLAINT AND APPEAL FORMS
Complaints and appeals under this policy shall be submitted in writing on the form provided in the INSPIRE TEXAS Handbook Appendix F. Copies of any documents that support the complaint should be attached to the complaint form. If the program participant does not have copies of these documents, copies may be presented at the Level One conference. After the Level One conference, no new documents may be submitted by the support unless the program participant did not know the documents existed before the Level One conference. A complaint or appeal form that is incomplete in any material aspect may be dismissed but may be refiled with all the required information if the refiling is within the designated time for filing.
PROGRAM CONTACT AND PROCESS MANAGER
The department secretary will formally log all complaints, manage forms and chronicle DAYS in the process.
INSPIRE TEXAS believes that all problems should be resolved as quickly as possible at the lowest administrative level. Therefore, before the formal complaint and grievance process is instituted, the participant is expected to meet with the person whom he or she believes has violated, misapplied, or misinterpreted the policy or procedure. This meeting shall be scheduled no later than 15 business days after the date the participant knew, or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, of the decision or action that gave rise to the complaint. A participant alleging discrimination will not be required to meet with the person against whom the complaint is brought; in that case, the participant will meet with the Deputy Executive Director of Support Services.
If the participant is not satisfied with the results of the informal process, he or she should initiate the formal process no later than 20 business days after the date the participant knew, or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, of the decision or action that gave rise to the complaint or grievance.
Complaints or grievances shall be submitted in writing and in the form prescribed by the Center (refer to Appendix F). A complaint or grievance must specify the individual harm alleged, state the relief requested, and include all documents and other supporting materials.
- Complaints and grievances shall be heard in informal administrative conferences at all levels. Participants are not entitled to full evidentiary hearings or “mini-trials” at any level.
- All deadlines shall be strictly adhered to unless extended in writing by mutual consent of the grievant and INSPIRE TEXAS program administration.
- If the participant is not satisfied with the result of a conference at any level, the participant has 5 business days to appeal the decision to the next level. The complaint shall be considered concluded and the administration’s decision final if at any level the participant does not appeal the decision within the required time limit.
- Cost of any complaints or grievances shall be paid by the party incurring them.
- Under no circumstances shall a participant be required to present allegations of harassment to the person who is the subject of the grievance.
- A participant is prohibited from bringing separate or serial complaints and/or grievances regarding the same event or action.
- The Deputy Executive Director of Support Services may permit the consolidation of two or more complaints and/or grievances when it is determined that the complaints or grievances are sufficiently similar in nature and remedy.
- The participant must submit the complaint or grievance in writing, on the form provided by the Center, to the Director of Educator Preparation Solutions.
- The Director of Educator Preparation Solutions or a designee will hold a conference with the participant within 5 business days after receipt of the written complaint.
- The Director of Educator Preparation Solutions shall have 5 business days following the conference to provide the participant with a written response.
- If the outcome of the conference at Level One is not to the participant’s satisfaction, or if the time for a response has expired, the participant may appeal the decision to the Deputy Executive Director of Support Services.
- The notice of appeal must be filed in writing, on the form provided by the Center (refer to Appendix F), within 5 business days after receipt of a response, or if no response is received, within 10 business days of the response deadline at Level One.
- The Deputy Executive Director of Support Services or designee will hold a conference with the participant within 5 business days after receipt of the written appeal. At the conference, the Deputy Executive Director of Support Services or designee shall consider only the documents and issues presented at the preceding level and identified in the appeal notice.
- The Deputy Executive Director of Support Services shall have 5 business days following the conference to provide the participant with a written response.
The participant may withdraw the complaint or grievance at any time.
No reprisals shall be taken against any participant because of participation in a complaint or grievance.
Filing a Complaint with the Texas Education Agency