The Berkeley Unified School District believes that the quality of the education program can improve when the district listens to concerns, considers differences of opinion, and resolves disagreements and complaints through an established, objective process.
This page contains information about how to file a formal complaint at the District level. It does not address the process for resolving problems at the school site level. In general, if you have a concern about a particular school site, it is almost always best to raise that concern with the principal or vice-principal. (If you don’t know how to reach the appropriate person at the school site level, please contact Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer Martha Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org and they can help direct you to the right person.) If you are not satisfied with the response at the site level, you may file a formal complaint.
The two main categories of complaints that are filed at the District level are either “Uniform Complaints” or “Williams” complaints.
- A “Williams” complaint is a very specific kind of complaint and it concerns sufficiency of instructional materials; emergency or urgent facilities conditions that pose a threat to the health and safety of pupils; and teacher vacancy or misassignment.
- Almost all other complaints are “Uniform Complaints,” which include discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), complaints about a District employee or District policy or practice, etc. In most cases, you need to try to resolve the problem at the school site level before bringing a formal complaint at the District level. In some cases, the law allows you to file a complaint directly at the District level. If you have questions about this process, please contact District Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator Martha Walters at email@example.com.
To access the form you need to file a complaint, click on one of the links below. If you need help filling out the form, please ask an administrator at your school site, or contact the District Compliance Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510.486.9338.
- Unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation or bullying. In this context, discrimination based on the following characteristics is unlawful under state or federal law: age; ancestry; color; disability (physical or mental); ethnic group identification; gender; gender expression; gender identity; genetic information; homelessness or foster status; marital, parenting or breastfeeding status; nationality; national origin; race or ethnicity; religion; sex (this includes sexual harassment and acts of sexual misconduct); sexual orientation; or based on association with any of these actual or perceived characteristics.
- Retaliation against a complainant or other participant in the complaint process or anyone who has acted to uncover or report a violation subject to the uniform complaint procedures.
- District violations of state or federal law or regulations, including those covering the following programs: Adult Education; After School Education and Safety; Berkeley Peer Assistance and Review Programs; Career/Technical Education; Child Nutrition; Childcare and Development Programs; Compensatory Education; Consolidated Categorical Aid Programs; Education Opportunities of Pupils in Foster Care or Pupils who are Homeless and Former Juvenile Court Pupils; English Learner Programs; Every Student Succeeds Act; Local Control and Accountability Plans; Migrant Education; Physical Education Instructional Minutes (for grades one through six); Pupil Fees; Reasonable Accommodations to a Lactating Pupil; School Safety Plans; Special Education; State Preschool; Tobacco-Use Prevention Education.
- General complaints about a Berkeley Unified School District policy, practice or procedure; a school site-level practice or procedure; or a District employee. (Note: Employee/employee complaints may also be filed with the District Compliance Officer and will then be routed to Human Resources for resolution).
What happens after a complaint is filed?
Once a formal complaint is filed, you will receive confirmation that your complaint has been received, along with a date-stamped copy of the complaint via email. The District Compliance Officer (DCO) will review your complaint, determine if an investigation is warranted, and, if so, will oversee that investigation. It is very likely that the DCO or someone else working on the complaint will ask to speak with you or will contact you by email to invite you to submit any additional information that you want considered during this review, so please make sure your contact information is legible and accurate on the complaint form. Within 60 days, the DCO will issue the District’s written response to your complaint, and will also let you know how you can appeal the decision if you are not satisfied.
Where can I read more about the complaint process?
We will be developing informational materials that clearly explain the complaint process. In the meantime, you can review the Board Policy and Administrative Regulations regarding Uniform Complaints at the following links:
Board Policy | Administrative Regulation
A “Williams” complaint is for complaints about the sufficiency of instructional materials; emergency or urgent facilities conditions that pose a threat to the health and safety of pupils; and teacher vacancy or misassignment.
For more information about filing a Williams Act complaint, please see: