Parent Concerns: A Guide for Resolution
"Tens of thousands of parents and teachers co-operate on a daily basis to help children learn and grow."
- Neil Worboys, past president, British Columbia Teachers' Federation
From time to time, you may have a query or worry about an aspect of your child’s schooling. The following model represents some of the best practices for handling complaints fairly and respectfully.
Steps to follow
(The following is adapted from A Guide for Parents, produced by the Sooke Parents’ Education Advisory Council)
Where do I start if I have a concern or problem?
Always start with the teacher. A face-to-face meeting between teacher, parent, and student may be the best approach. Most problems will be successfully solved at this level.
Where do I go next?
The vice-principal or principal will make every attempt to solve the problem at the school level and can help you contact appropriate people as necessary.
What if my problem cannot be solved at the school level?
You may wish to call an assistant superintendent of the school district. If you are unable to achieve satisfaction, referral to the superintendent may be necessary.
Where would I go from there?
You have the option of writing a letter to the school board or asking to make a formal presentation at a board meeting.
Would it be appropriate for me to ask the PAC to intervene on my behalf?
No. It is important to be fair to yourself and to the parties involved. Action on your own behalf allows you to take ownership of your problem and follow it through. The problem cannot be dealt with legally or ethically if it is presented anonymously. You can ask your PAC for information, or you can e-mail the BCCPAC (BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils) for assistance.
Everyone benefits when parents know how they can raise concerns or lodge a formal complaint. School boards should ensure the complaint procedures are accessible and well publicized.
- New parents and students should get a summary of how the school deals with complaints.
- Parents and children should be reminded at regular intervals.
- Schools should prepare leaflets for parents explaining how a problem is dealt with and how the complaints procedure works.