Concerns and Complaints

CONCERNS AND COMPLAINTS

BACKGROUND
Alberta Education recognizes and respects parents and guardians as the prime educators of their children.

Alberta Education supports the authority of parents and guardians of students attending public schools to exercise their rights to exclude their child from courses of study, educational programs or instructional materials, or instruction or exercises prescribed under the School Act, which include subject matter that deals primarily and explicitly with religion, human sexuality or sexual orientation.

Parents shall be advised and given notice prior to the start of instruction of their right to exempt their child from that course component. Principals will exempt a student from these subject matters at the written request of the student’s parent and will provide alternative learning experiences for the student.

If a parent/guardian of a student has a concern or complaint related to the provision or non-provision of notice, or the exclusion of his/her child from instruction or courses as noted above, the parent or guardian should follow this protocol to address the matter at the local level.

PROCEDURES
1. If a parent/guardian of a student has a complaint relating to the provision or non-provision of a notice respecting courses of study, educational program, instructional materials, or instruction or exercises prescribed under the School Act, which includes subject matters that deal primarily and explicitly with religion, human sexuality or sexual orientation, the subsequent procedures are to be followed.

 2. In lodging a concern or complaint, the parent/guardian of the student must be prepared to address his/her concern in writing or in person, to the person or persons involved as soon as possible.

 3. Concerns or complaints filed by a parent/guardian must be made at an appropriate time and place, in a respectful manner, and should not be made in the presence of students, or during class time.

 4. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to complete the attached concerns and complaint form to specifically identify the basis of their concern or complaint.

 5. While concerns or complaints will be treated as confidentially as possible, such information as is necessary to investigate/resolve the concern/complaint will be shared on a need-to-know basis with persons named in the concern or complaint; those necessary to conduct the investigation; provide such expertise or assistance as may be deemed necessary; those that need to know about the concern or complaint as part of their duties; and those responsible for processing the complaint and their professional advisors where deemed appropriate.

 6. School board staff who receive a complaint must:
a. receive and respond to the concern or complaint in a courteous fashion;
b. attend to the matter in a timely fashion.
c. if the concern or complaint relates to another person, consult with that person;
d. be candid, cooperative and respectful in addressing the concern or complaint;
e. determine whether the concern or complaint relates to a failure to notify a parent or exclude a student with respect to section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act, as amended;
f. where required, redirect the concern or complaint to the appropriate person;
g. keep a record of all complaints including withdrawn complaints, including communications about the matter;
h. provide the parent or guardian with a copy of this protocol;
i. meet or communicate with the parent or guardian to discuss the matter, the results of their inquiry, the decision or determination and the reasons thereof;
j. handle the concern or complaint in a confidential manner in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

 7. Concerns and complaints will be addressed according to the following escalating sequence if the parent or guardian feels that their concern or complaint has not been adequately addressed:
a. first, to the teacher, if unresolved;
b. to the principal, if unresolved;
c. to the superintendent of schools, or his/her designate.

 8. A request for review by the superintendent of schools or his/her designate must be made by the parent/guardian in writing, and provided to the superintendent of schools or his/her designate. The superintendent of schools and his/her designate shall consider all written communications respecting the concern or complaint and shall, where deemed appropriate, meet with the parent or guardian and/or the school-based administrator and teacher, either separately or together, to ensure that the superintendent of schools or his/her designate fully understand the concern or complaint and the school’s position on the matter.

9. In the event that the parent’s/guardian’s concern or complaint with respect to section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act remains unresolved, and the matter significantly affects the education of their child, the parent/guardian may file an appeal of the superintendent’s or his/her designate’s decision to the Board of Trustees in accordance with the procedures established by the Board under Policy 12.

HPSD Form
185A - Concerns & Complaints (Notification or Exclusion under section 11.1 of the AB Human Rights Act)

Legal Reference: School Act Section 123

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