Conflict Resolution Policy

 

The purpose of this policy is to establish Biblical guidelines at Geneva Academy for the resolution of conflicts concerning any aspect of the school’s operation, and which arise between any parties connected in a direct way to the school, including students, parents, volunteers, staff, administration and Board members.

 

I. Relevant Scripture

            Matt 18: “ 15Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.”

Proverbs 17:9: “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.”

Biblical Principles of Operation

1.  When a person has a grievance, there are two biblical options: to cover the grievance in love, or to directly confront the person. Discussing it with people who are not involved in solving the conflict constitutes the sin of gossip.

2.  If unresolved at the two-person level, the matter is prayerfully and in an orderly fashion moved upward in the school’s organizational structure.

3.  An accusation regarding the moral conduct of anyone involved in the school will not be considered by the Board if the accuser cannot support the facts of his claims with the testimony of two or three witnesses (Matt 18:15).

Definitions

Dispute/Grievance: Any disagreement that results in broken fellowship or trust between or among parties, that disrupts the lines of authority in the school, or that (in the judgment of either disputant) threatens the successful implementation of the school’s objectives and goals, and where the conflict directly affects the person bringing that concern.

 

Students / Parents to Teachers

 

1.  All concerns about the classroom must first be presented to the teacher by the parents, or if the student is sufficiently mature, by the student himself. All people involved must display a respectful, Christ-honoring demeanor at all times.

2.  If the problem is not resolved after two formal meetings with the instructor, the parents may bring the issue to the appropriate principal (elementary/secondary), who will schedule a meeting with both the parents and teacher present to resolve the issue.

If the teacher is also the administrator (e.g. both 6th grade teacher and elementary administrator), then the parents will meet with the alternate administrator (e.g. secondary).

3.  If the problem is not resolved, the parents may bring the concern to the board-appointed liaison, who will work to resolve the dispute. The administrator will also attend the liaison’s meetings to act as a 3rd-party witness (Matt.18:16).

4.  If there is still no resolution, the parents may submit a Petition of Concern, requesting in writing a hearing from the Geneva Academy school board , specifying the nature of the conflict, and (for moral accusations) the witnesses who were present at the event(s) that caused the conflict.

 

Employees/parents (including volunteers) to Administration

 

1.  If parents, teachers, or staff have a grievance or dispute about the general operation of the school (apart from the operation of the classrooms) or about the conduct of an administrator, they should privately bring their concerns to the appropriate administrator.

2.  If the issue persists, the concerned person should schedule a second meeting with the administrator.

3.  If there is still no resolution, the aggrieved party may appeal in writing to the board-appointed liason, who will attempt to resolve the issue.* Resolution of the matter must be confirmed by a written statement signed by parties and the liason.

4.  If there is still no resolution, the aggrieved party may fill out a Petition of Concern, requesting in writing a hearing from the Geneva Academy School Board, specifying the nature of the conflict and (for moral accusations) the witnesses who were either present at the event(s) that caused the conflict.

*An uninvolved faculty member will attend these meetings to act as a 3rd-party witness (Matt 18:16).

 

Conflict Hearing Procedure

Pre-hearing

  1. Upon receiving a Petition of Concern, the Chair and the liaison of the board will review the letter, and (for moral accusations), they will meet with witnesses privately to confirm that their testimony does indeed support the claims.
  2. If this testimony does not confirm the written claims, then the Chair of the board will dismiss the grievance, and the letter will be kept by the Secretary of the Board for record.
  3. If the testimony does confirm the written claims, then the board will have 10 days from the receipt of the petition in which to schedule an executive board hearing when both the aggrieved party and the accused can be present. The board members, the aggrieved party, and the accused party will be notified of the date.

Hearing

1.  At the hearing, the chair of the board will first ask the disputant to explain the nature of the conflict and the efforts taken to resolve the conflict. Following this statement, the chair of the board will ask the witnesses to corroborate the claims of the aggrieved party (for moral accusations).
2.  The chair will ask the accused to offer an defense of his behavior and conduct. After he has been questioned, he may also have any witnesses speak in his behalf (for moral accusations).
3.  After hearing both sides of the issue, the board will have a private, executive board meeting where they will deliberate, and then come to a verdict by a formal vote.
4.  The board shall issue its response within seven days of the hearing. The decision will be recorded in writing by the Secretary of the board. A copy of the decision will be signed by both parties.The decisions reached by the Board are binding and final, and may not be appealed.