Notices & Grievances

Anti-Harassment | Non-Discrimination | Grievances & Appeals  | Civility & Respect

About Pepin Academies

Our Story, Mission & Vision

Executive Director's Message

ANTI-HARASSMENT | NONDISCRIMINATION | GRIEVANCE
RESPECT & CIVILITY | PARENTAL RIGHTS

Anti-Harassment Policy

This policy applies to the entire Pepin Academies Community and includes students, administrators, teachers, staff, and all other school personnel, including Board members, agents, volunteers, contractors, or other persons subject to the control and supervision of Pepin Academies.

Pepin Academies strives to create and maintain a work environment in which people are treated with dignity, decency and respect. The environment at Pepin Academies should be characterized by mutual trust and the absence of intimidation, oppression and exploitation. Employees should be able to work and learn in a safe, yet stimulating atmosphere. The accomplishment of this goal is essential to the mission of Pepin Academies. For that reason, Pepin Academies will not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment of any kind. Through enforcement of this policy and by education of employees, Pepin Academies will seek to prevent, correct and discipline behavior that violates this policy.All employees, regardless of their positions, are covered by and are expected to comply with this policy and to take appropriate measures to ensure that prohibited conduct does not occur. Appropriate corrective action will be taken against any employee who violates this policy. Based on the seriousness of the offense, corrective action may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension or termination of employment.

 

Continuous Notification of Nondiscrimination

Pepin Academies does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex/gender, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, age or genetic information in its educational programs, services or activities, or in its hiring and employment practices.

If you have accessibility issues within this website, or have any questions, complaints, or require additional information regarding discrimination or unlawful harassment, please contact:

Jason Aponte, MPA, SPHR
Director Human Resources
Anti-Harassment Compliance Officer
Pepin Academies
New Port Richey: 727-233-2961
Riverview: 813-533-2999
Tampa: 813-236-1755
japonte@theacademies.us

Grievance & Appeals Policy

A grievance is a situation occurring in the course of the school’s operation which causes an individual to consider themselves legally wronged.

Pepin Academies believes that grievances or appeals to the Board of Directors should come only as a last resort. We value and foster an environment that welcomes early identification of concerns via early points of contact with the hopes of mutual resolution. Open communication is important to meeting the needs of everyone at the Pepin Academies and ensuring the schools provide a safe place where “belonging leads to learning”.

The date, time, and location of the Board meetings are posted on the school calendar via the website. All Board meetings are open to the public and the agenda provides an opportunity for public inquiry. There may be times, however, where individuals have concerns with decisions by school personnel that they would like the Board to consider in a more formal matter, such as a grievance or appeal. This policy identifies the process by which individuals can have their grievances or appeals heard via the Board.

The procedure for having the board formally address a concern is as follows:

  • First Point of Contact
    Teacher As the first line of recourse, contact the teacher to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your child and seek to resolve the concern with the teacher. If the concern is not resolved, or the teacher is involved in the concern, you are encouraged to contact the next point of contact.
  • Second Point of Contact
    Campus Assistant Principal or Principal If your concern remains unresolved after meeting with the teacher, or the teacher is involved, then contact the campus Assistant Principal or Principal. If the Assistant Principal is involved, then contact the Principal. If the concern is not resolved, or both the Assistant Principal and Principal are involved, then you are encouraged to contact the next point of contact.
  • Third Point of Contact
    Collaborative Group Administrator If your concern remains unresolved after meeting with the teacher and Principal, or the teacher and Principal are involved, then contact either the Chief Operating Officer or Executive Director of Pepin Academies Collaborative Group. If the concern is not resolved, or members of the Collaborative Group are involved, you are encouraged to contact the next point of contact.
  • Fourth Point of Contact
    Board of Directors If your concern remains unresolved after meeting with all the above points of contact, or they are all involved in the issue of concern, you are encouraged to contact the Parent Liaison representative on the Board of Directors. Contact information for the Parent Liaison of the Board of Directors may be obtained by contacting the Pepin Academies Executive Assistant to the Collaborative Group at 813-540-0206. Please note, although all Board of Director meetings are open to the public if the Board of Directors deems addressing the concern is appropriate, specific details about students will not be addressed in the public forum to protect the rights of the student under FERPA. If meetings regarding student concerns are warranted at the board level, those meetings will be closed door, and minutes will be taken, but those minutes will not be made public, again to protect the rights of the student.

Respect & Civility Policy

Pepin Academies believes a safe, secure, nurturing environment is essential in accomplishing its mission to create a community that works together so all studnets may reach their highest potential.

This policy promotes mutual respect, civility, and orderly conduct among all school employees, students, parents/guardians, and the public. The policy is not intended to deprive any person of his/her right to freedom of expression. Rather, it is intended to maintain, to the extent that is possible and reasonable, a safe, harassment-free environment for students, families, and staff, that is free of disruptive, demanding, intimidating, threatening, or aggressive behaviors.

  • Staff will treat students, parents/guardians, fellow staff members and members of the public with respect and will expect the same in return.
  • Staff will not conduct business with those who use obscenities or otherwise speak in a demanding, loud, insulting, or threatening manner.
  • Volatile, hostile, or aggressive actions and words will not be tolerated. Individuals who engage in these activities may face penalties up to, and including, criminal prosecution.

Parental Rights in Education

Concerns Related To Parental Rights

On March 28, 2022, House Bill 1557 Parental Rights in Education was signed into law, protecting the rights of parents in need of additional assistance with certain disputes that are not timely resolved by the school district. The following is a summary of the concerns that may be raised under the Parental Rights in Education [F.S. 1001.42 (8)(c)], but the entire bill can be found at: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/1557/BillText/er/PDF

  • The required notice regarding a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student.
  • The requirement for School District personnel to encourage a student to discuss issues related to their well-being with their parent(s).
  • The prohibition against School District personnel prohibiting or discouraging parental notification of and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.
  • The prohibition of classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, or in other grades in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate, in accordance with State standards.
  • The requirement that student support services training adhere to student services guidelines, standards, and frameworks established by the Florida Department of Education.
  • The requirement that, at the beginning of each school year, the District notify parents of each healthcare service offered at their child’s school and of the option to withhold consent or decline any specific service.
  • The requirement that the District provide a copy of a well-being questionnaire or health screening form to the parent and obtain the permission of the parent before administering the questionnaire or health screening form to a student in kindergarten through grade 3.

HB 1557 – Parental Rights in Education does not include the review of instructional materials. Please reach out to the charter school’s administration directly regarding their purchased instructional materials. Under F.S. 1002.33(16)(a), “A charter school shall operate in accordance with its charter and shall be exempt from all statutes in chapters 1000-1013”…, but “shall be in compliance” with those statutes listed in F.S. 1002.33(16)(a-b).

On October 19, 2022, the State Board of Education adopted Rule 6A-6.0791, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), Special Magistrate for Unresolved Student Welfare Complaints at Charter Schools. This rule is applicable to all charter schools. The purpose of Rule 6A-6.0791, F.A.C., is to support parental rights by providing charter school parents with a more expedient route to resolve certain disputes, in lieu of filing a lawsuit in court.

Special Magistrate for Unresolved Student Welfare Complaints

Step 1

Submit your concern here: Parental Rights in Education Step 1
A charter school administrator or charter administrator’s designee will respond and attempt to resolve the concern within seven (7) business days (excluding state, federal, and school district holidays) of receipt of the notification.

Step 2

If a parent/guardian believes the concern is not resolved by the charter school’s administrator or designee, then the parent/guardian may then notify the School District in writing, describing the nature of the concern and the reason the charter school administrator’s proposed resolution failed to address their concern. This notification should be made using the following.

Pasco County: Parent Concern Link.
Hillsborough County: Email Charterinfo@hcps.net

Within 30 business days (excluding state, federal, and school district holidays) after receipt of the notification, the District will notify the charter school of the decision for resolution of the complaint or provide a statement of the reasons for not resolving the concern.

Step 3

If a parental complaint involving certain types of disputes is not resolved at the local level by a charter school administrator within seven business days, or subsequently, a school district decision within 30 business days, a parent/guardian may submit a form to the Florida Department of Education requesting the appointment of a Special Magistrate. If the request is granted, a Special Magistrate would hold a hearing and provide a recommended decision to the State Board of Education on the dispute between a parent and the school district. The State Board of Education would either approve or reject the recommended decision within 30 business days. Additional information can be found
at: https://www.fldoe.org/schools/k-12-public-schools/special-magis.stml

Statutorily Required Website Information:
Statutes 1002.33(7)(d)1 and 1002.33(9)(p) indicate that the above items must appear on the website of every public school.

  • Pepin Academies is not a graded school, to view the school improvement ratings on the FLDOE website click here.

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VISIT OUR PEPIN ACADEMIES CAMPUS LOCATIONS

New Port Richey Campus

Pepin Academies' New Port Richey campus serves over 300 students in grades 3-12.  Find information on family resources, a transition program, our athletics & arts programs, as well as various clubs for students with learning disabilities in New Port Richey by clicking the button below.

Riverview Campus

Pepin Academies' Riverview campus currently serves over 400 students in grades 3-12. Discover information on valuable family resources, a transition program, an athletics program, an arts program, and various clubs on our Riverview campus by clicking the button below.

Tampa Campus

Pepin Academies' Tampa campus, our first campus, currently serves 350 students in grades 3-12. Explore comprehensive family resources, a transition program, an athletics program, an arts program, and various clubs and extra-curricular for students with learning disabilities in Tampa.

Application Process

Pepin Academies admits students of any race, color, creed, or national origin. Students must have learning or learning-related disabilities; students with pervasive processing and language difficulties and with achievement scores significantly below the expected grade level are encouraged to apply.