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BOEE Tips for Filing Complaints

BoEE Tips for Filing Complaints


As a parent, administrator or another school official we hope you will never have to file a complaint with our office but if you do, here are some tips for filing a complaint.

  1.  You may only file a complaint if: a) you are a parent or guardian of a student directly  impacted by an incident; b) you hold a BoEE license; c) you are a local board of education; d) or a recognized educational entity or local or state professional organization.
  2. You may file a complaint with the BoEE if you have an ethical complaint against a licensee as an individual, and NOT a general complaint about a district as a whole.  We only have authority over individual licensees.  This includes administrators, teachers, substitutes, authorizations, and coaches but NOT bus drivers, custodians, technology staff, food service, and school boards.  
  3. If you have an issue with the local school district, the local school board, or the local school's curriculum, these are NOT issues our board has authority to address.  For these issues you must contact your local board or the Iowa Department of Education.
  4. To file a complaint, you must complete the BoEE complaint form and include all of the information requested.  You cannot file an anonymous complaint.  
  5. If you are filing a complaint on more than one individual, you must complete a form for each individual.
  6. You must cite an Iowa Administrative Code citation with the ethical standard violated in the complaint for us to process the complaint. If you need assistance or clarification, contact the BoEE.
    1. Understand your mandatory reporting obligations if you are an administrator or licensee.  Currently there are five areas in addition to reporting felony convictions:  25.3(1)(e)(4) Inappropriate relationships; 25.3(2)(a)&(b) Use or possession of alcohol or other substances; 25.3(3)(e) Falsification of student grades, test scores, etc.  25.3(4)(b) Converting public property/funds to personal use; and Discrimination on the basis of free speech or intellectual freedom.  
  7. The Licensee/Respondent will be provided with a copy of the complaint and all  documents attached.  Be sure to include enough information in the complaint to support that a violation has occurred including the specific standard(s) you are alleging. 
  8. File the complaint in a timely manner.  You have up to three years from the time of the incident or from the discovery of the incident to file a complaint under the rules.  
  9. Follow-up on the complaint with any and all supporting documentation or evidence in a timely manner.
  10.  You may be contacted by the investigator for an interview.  However, it may not be necessary to interview witnesses or reinterview those who have already been interviewed by law enforcement or the local agency.  It is best practice not to reinterview witnesses unless it is necessary.
  11. Once the investigator finishes the investigation a report is submitted to the Board for their review to see if a Probable Cause violation occurred.   Probable cause is often defined as “more than mere suspicion but less than the quantum of evidence required for conviction.”  If probable cause is found, the ethical violation must still be proven in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
  12. The complaint process can take up to 180 days from the date of filing or more.  This is an administrative due process proceeding that may involve attorneys representing the parties and it does take time to complete.  You may contact the investigator for updates.

If you need legal advice, be sure to contact your attorney.  If you have any questions about the ethical standards, you may contact Nicole Proesch at or call 515-242-6506.