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Complaint Procedure

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Complaint Procedure

October 09, 2020

(As revised by Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education April 2017)

The following complaint resolution procedures apply to all programs administered by the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). Programs include Title I. A, B, C, D, Title II, Title III, Title IV.A, Title V.

Definition of a Complaint

For these purposes, a complaint is a written allegation that a local education agency (LEA) or the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (the Department) has violated a federal statute or regulation that applies to a program under ESSA.

All written complaints regarding programs implemented at South Harrison R-II School District shall be made to, Superintendent of Schools, 3400 Bulldog Ave, Bethany, MO 64424.

Who May File a Complaint

Any individual or organization may file a complaint. Complaints may be filed with the local education agency (LEA) or with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Complaints Received by the Local Education Agency (LEA)

Complaints filed with the local district concerning ESSA program operations in the South Harrison R-II School District are to be investigated and resolved by the district according to locally developed procedures when at all possible.  Such procedures provide for:

  1. disseminating procedures to all stakeholders annually,
  2. procedures regarding complaint resolution will be available upon request in all administrative offices within the district,
  3. informal complaints will be addressed in a prompt and courteous manner,
  4. the state educational agency (DESE) will be notified within 15 days of receipt of written complaints,
  5. timely investigation and processing of complaints will be completed within 30 days, with an additional 30 days if exceptional conditions exist,
  6. complaint findings and resolutions will be disseminated to all parties of the complaint and the local school board within 5 days of the conclusion of the investigation.

A complaint not resolved at the local level may be appealed to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which will be processed according to the procedures outlined in sections below.

Complaints Received by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

A complaint filed with the Department must be a written, signed statement that includes:

  1. A statement that a requirement that applies to an ESSA program has been violated by the LEA or the Department, and
  2. The facts on which the statement is based and the specific requirement allegedly violated.

The investigation and complaint resolution proceedings will be completed within a time limit of forty-five calendar days. That time limit can be extended by the agreement of all parties.

The following activities will occur in the investigation:

  1. Record. A written record of the investigation will be kept.
  2. Notification of LEA. The LEA will be notified of the complaint within five days of the complaint being filed. 
  3. Resolution at LEA. The LEA will then initiate its local complaint procedures in an effort to first resolve the complaint at the local level.
  4. Report by LEA. Within thirty-five days of the complaint being filed, the LEA will submit a written summary of the LEA investigation and complaint resolution. This report is considered public record and may be made available to parents, teachers, and other members of the general public.
  5. Verification. Within five days of receiving the written summary of a complaint resolution, the Department will verify the resolution of the complaint through an on-site visit, letter, or telephone call(s).
  6. Appeal. The complainant or the LEA may appeal the decision of the Department to the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition to the procedures listed above, complaints related to equitable services will also be filed with the U.S. Department of Education, and they will receive all information related to the investigation and resolution of the complaint. Also, appeals to the United States Department of Education must be filed no longer than thirty days following the Department’s resolution of the complaint (or its failure to resolve the complaint).

Appeals to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Department will initiate an investigation within ten days, which will be concluded within thirty days from the day of the appeal. This investigation may be continued beyond the thirty day limit at the discretion of the Department. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Department will communicate the decision and reasons for the decision to the complainant and the LEA. Recommendations and details of the decision are to be implemented within fifteen days of the decision being delivered to the LEA.

If a complaint is not resolved at the state level (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education), the complainant or the LEA may appeal the decision of the Department to the United States Department of Education.

Procedure Dissemination

  1. Complaint procedures will be posted on the district website.
  2. Complaint procedures will also be available in the Office of the Superintendent, as well as building level offices.
  3. Additional information regarding ESSA complaint procedures may be obtained at the state website http://dese.mo.gov
  4. DESE will keep records of any complaints filed through this policy.

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