How Keller ISD Streamlined Bullying and Harassment Investigations with Laserfiche
Laserfiche Solution Contributed By: Joe Griffin, CTO, Clint Mehta, Systems Integration Architect, Dustin Blank, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Joseph Baker, Area Director of Student Services and Laura Lockhart, Area Director of Student Services, Keller Independent School District
Keller ISD serves more than 35,000 students across Tarrant County, Texas, and employs more than 4,000 staff members. Like other school districts, Keller ISD must keep students safe and manage bullying and harassment allegations while staying in compliance with federal reporting regulations.
Federal law requires an investigation of bullying and harassment allegations to be completed within 10 business days of its submittal. Keller ISD’s previous manual process made it hard to process incident reports, complete investigations within the time frame, and hold participants accountable
The district has completely streamlined this process using Laserfiche Forms.
Allegation Forms Can Be Submitted Anonymously Online
Allegations can now be reported through an electronic form on the district and campus websites. The form submitter can choose to remain anonymous.
If the submitter knows the names of the students involved, he or she can input them into the form. Otherwise, the submitter needs to provide a thorough description of the incident and students in order to help identify them so the incident can be investigated.
Once the form is submitted, it is sent to the principal of the campus on which the incident occurred. The principal can choose to investigate this allegation or delegate it to an assistant principal or other campus administrator. The campus administrator reads through the allegation and, when ready to start the investigation, clicks the Create Investigation button at the bottom of the form.
This action triggers a Laserfiche Workflow which launches the Investigations Forms process. This process is automatically assigned to the campus administrator and appears in their Forms Inbox as a new task. The campus administrator also receives an email about this task. To make filling out this form easier, the Investigation form has many fields prepopulated with data gathered during the Allegation process.
The Investigation form contains a long checklist of items that need to be completed as part of the investigation. The campus administrator inputs the student ID numbers of any students involved, which prepopulates many of the form fields. If an allegation is submitted verbally or in a method other than the Allegations form, then the campus administrator launches the Investigation form directly and fills out any of the fields related to the initial allegation.
Each incident is assigned a unique allegation incident number in order to make reporting easier.
The form walks the campus administrator through the whole investigations process through a series of checklists. There is also a section in the form to describe actions taken in response to the investigation. Some of these actions include, but are not limited to:
- A separation of the target student and perpetrator student.
- Appropriate counseling provided to the target student.
- Additional staff training.
- Changes in student schedules.
Once the form is submitted, it is routed to the student services department. An employee from that department reviews the information in the form and, if more information is needed, can send it back to the campus administrator.
Once the investigation is finalized, the form is submitted and saved in the repository.
Built-In Timers Ensure Process Completion and Federal Compliance
Timers have been built in throughout the process in order to ensure that every investigation is completed within 10 business days, as specified by law. After five days, the campus administrator and student services department are notified that they have reached the halfway point in the process.
Within three days of the allegation submission, both the victim’s and perpetrator’s parents are automatically notified of the ongoing investigation, as per federal reporting regulations.
Administrators can use the Forms Operational Report to track the status of all investigations and make sure that none of them fall through the cracks.
Reporting on the Data Helps Administrators See Incident Patterns
Data obtained through the Forms process is also used to create an annual overview report, which breaks down the allegations per campus based on type, location, protected class/group, etc. This report helps each campus identify any trends and leads to ideas on how these incidents can be mitigated.
“We want to address the root cause, not just the outcome. A thorough investigation helps ensure that both the victim and perpetrator get the required help they need. After all, they are bullying or harassing for a reason,” says Laura Lockhart, area director of student services.
An unintended benefit of creating an electronic allegation reporting form and embedding it on the website is that there have been many more incidents reported. In the past, incidents would go unreported because it was difficult to submit an allegation to school administrators. With more data available from which to draw conclusions, the school administrators can get a wider view of the harassment and bullying problems and come up with more effective strategies to address underlying issues.