Section III

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED?

Los Lunas Schools is committed to providing faculty, staff and students with an environment where they may pursue their careers or studies free from discrimination. The cornerstone of this procedure is the School’s Non-Discrimination Policy, 7.1. Los Lunas Schools shall maintain a continuing affirmative action program to promote equal opportunity and to identify and eliminate discriminatory practices in every phase of school operations. Furthermore, affirmative action will be taken to ensure that opportunities afforded by the district are fully available to minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. The District will make every reasonable accommodation to enable students and employees with disabilities to undertake work or study for which they qualify.

As required by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, in particular Titles VI & VII, the Los Lunas Schools are committed to broad application of Executive Order 11246 Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. Students or employees should bring problems or questions regarding discrimination issues or procedures to the attention of a trusted staff or faculty member, supervisor, school administrator, site manager, district administrator or the Los Lunas Schools District Equity Officer, Brian Baca, Deputy Superintendent, PO Drawer 1300 Los Lunas, NM 87031or 505-865-9636. Students with disabilities may also contact the administrator of special services.

PARENT/STUDENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

Complaints and Grievance. Los Lunas Board Policy 7.15

The primary purpose of this policy is to provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of parent/student complaints as close to the source of the complaint as possible. Therefore, parents/students should address the issue or complaint first at the level where the issue arose, i.e., the teacher, coach, etc. If there is no resolution, only then should the complaint proceed to the assistant principal, principal, advocate, assistant/deputy superintendent, and the superintendent. The final arbiter is the Board.

The following timeline should be followed:
1. The aggrieved parent or student shall have a right to be heard orally by the instructor who shall render a decision within three (3) school days.
2. If the parent or student is not satisfied, the grievance shall be presented in writing within three (3) school days to the principal or designee who shall render a decision in writing within three (3) school days.
3. If the parent or student is still not satisfied, he/she shall within three (3) school days appeal to the assistant superintendent or superintendent. The Grievance will be heard within three (3) school days and a response rendered within ten (10) school days.
4. The Superintendent of Schools shall be the final appeal authority on any such request for reconsideration under this Policy.
5. If determination of a grievance depends on the interpretation of a Board Policy or a provision or term used in a Board Policy, in that the parent or student is not satisfied with the Superintendent’s interpretation of the Board Policy, the Superintendent has to bring the matter of the interpretation to the Board of Education within ten (10) school days. The Board shall hear the grievance only as to the disputed interpretation of its policy within thirty (30) days and render a decision within one (1) calendar month.

STUDENT VICTIMS OF PHYSICAL VIOLENCE

Students that perpetrate an act of physical violence upon another student, staff person, teacher or administrator are subject to disciplinary action, up to, and including long term suspension from school or expulsion.

A. In some instances, students have been attacked by other students and have become involved in physical violence through no fault of their own. The policy generally followed by the school district has been that both individuals have been suspended from school because we have stated that “We do not have a policy about who starts a fight, we have a policy against fighting.” While this policy justly castigates both participants and does seem to change behavior both individually and collectively, on rare occasion’s students that become victims of physical violence situations have done everything in their power to avoid the conflict but are still drawn in through no fault of their own. “Victim” will be defined, for purposes of this regulation, as a student who has been injured by an action beyond his or her control.

B. Student victims may need additional protection and intervention to ensure that their rights and due process are safeguarded.

C. Self-harm threats and attempts to harm others are to be taken seriously by all staff members. For these reasons, administrators are asked to implement the attached guidelines set forth by the district. Monitoring of self-harm or threats to harm others is necessary in all cases. Therefore an Action Plan Form must be completed for all instances in which a student has expressed self-harm or threats to harm others. When necessary, the principal or his/her designee may remove a student from classes or from school premises for health, safety or welfare reasons whenever the principal or designee determines that it is necessary to do so. This would include students suffering from any condition that threatens his/her welfare or the safety of others. Any student who is so removed is to be released only to the student’s parent a representative of the parent or other proper authority, including, but not limited to, law enforcement officers and medical personnel. When a student is removed from the school for self-harm or threats to harm others, the Parent Statement of Understanding will be used in an effort to encourage the caretakers to seek professional mental health care for a student outside of the school. In these cases, failure to seek outside mental health consultation may constitute neglect and the school is legally obligated to report the situation to the Children Youth and Families Department. The State of New Mexico defines “neglect of a child as one who is without proper parental care and control of subsistence, education, mental or other care or control necessary for the child’s well-being”.

D. In this regard, the adjudicating school official will consider the following criteria when determining the disciplinary outcome resulting from physical violence between students:

1. Was one of the students involved clearly the victim in the conflict?
2. Did this student attempt to walk away from the person with whom there was conflict?
3. Did the student take reasonable steps to avoid a physical confrontation?
4. Did this student attempt to work out the conflict through conversation and understanding of the other person’s position?
5. Did the student clearly indicate to the other party that he/she did not want to fight?
6. Did the student ignore rude or discourteous talk as well as other insults?
7. Did the student seek out the nearest adult and ask for help in resolving the conflict?
8. Did the student seek out a student conflict mediator or attempt to set up conflict mediation with a school official?
9. Did the student seek out a school administrator and tell them about the conflict with the other individual?
10.Did the student tell their parents or legal guardian that they were having a problem that might result in physical violence with another student?

A. Students considered “victims” would not use language considered to be “fighting words” nor would they remain in the conflict to protect their pride, honor or reputation. These issues can be settled through proper and reasonable methods including conversation, with or without the aid of an adult or student mediator.
B. Students, whose parents or legal guardians encourage them to take physical or aggressive action with another student, are being placed in a position in which they cannot be considered a “victim.”
C. Once it is determined that a student has been a “victim” in a physical confrontation as evidenced by meeting the criteria listed above, then it is time to consider the outcome of physical violence that may have resulted from the incident.
D. In this regard, the adjudicating school official will consider the following criteria when determining the disciplinary outcome resulting from physical violence between students:

1. Did the “victim” use reasonable force when protecting himself or herself from harm?
2. Did the victim assume a defensive position and only use the minimum forces necessary to protect their person?
3. Did the altercation result in serious physical damage or great bodily harm to the other individual?

E. Students deemed to have used excessive force, or who are believed to have assumed an offensive or aggressive posture, whether they meet some or all of the criteria to be determined a “victim”, will be considered in violation of the Los Lunas Schools Student Disciplinary Code and will be subject to the same sanctions as if they were the perpetrator.
F. Students involved in physical confrontations who are considered true “victims” are not subject to the same disciplinary consequences of those students who are not considered “victims”.
G. The adjudicating school official will be the sole judge as to whether a student is considered a “victim” by the standards outlined above.
H. Criminal charges may be filed with police authorities, by parents or guardians, if a criminal act is committed by another student against their child.
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