It is the desire of the Smithfield School Committee that prompt and equitable resolution of concerns and complaints occurs at the lowest possible administrative level and that each employee shall be assured an opportunity for orderly presentation and review of complaints without fear of reprisal. The School Committee will encourage the administration to develop effective means of resolving differences that may arise among employees and between employees and administrators; reduce potential areas of grievances; and establish and maintain recognized channels of communication between the staff, administration, and School Committee. The Committee encourages the resolution of employee concerns prior to entering the concern communication procedure, which is defined below.

A “concern” or “complaint” is defined as an alleged material violation of School Committee policies or administrative procedures that apply to all employees. The process designated for the resolution of “grievances” is established in the collective bargaining agreement, if applicable.

Nothing in this policy shall be construed to imply in any manner the establishment of personal rights not explicitly established by statute or Committee policy. Neither shall anything in this policy be construed to establish any condition prerequisite relative to non-renewal of contracts, transfer, assignment, dismissal or any other employment decision relating to school personnel.

All employment decisions remain within the sole and continuing discretion of the administration and/or School Committee, as appropriate, subject only to the conditions and limitations prescribed by law. In order to promote efficiency in the administration of schools and to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations, all personnel must observe a chain of command when bringing staff concerns or complaints to the administration’s attention.

In order to promote such efficiency, the following guidelines should be followed:

1. All personnel employed by the District shall be responsible to the Committee through the Superintendent. No dispute or other personnel issue shall be brought to the Committee without first having gone to the Superintendent for determination. No personnel issues will be brought to the Committee unless the affected employee has a right to a hearing before the Committee, as established by law or collective bargaining agreement.

2. No dispute or other personnel issue shall be brought to the Superintendent without first having been presented to the direct supervisor for determination.

3. The use of social media or the press for airing complaints directly to the public is to be avoided to maintain a professional atmosphere and confidence in the school system and its employees.

4. It is the Committee’s policy not to involve itself in personnel complaints or disputes until the matter has properly followed these guidelines.

ADOPTED: November 4, 2019