The Association of Independent Schools in New England (“AISNE”) is a membership association for independent schools, and AISNE accredits some, but not all, of its member schools. AISNE expects all of its members to operate in the public interest and abide by applicable federal, state, and local legal and regulatory requirements.

Additionally, AISNE expects that the independent schools it accredits operate in accordance with AISNE’s School Accreditation Eligibility Criteria, Standards, and Indicators (the “Criteria and Standards”).

AISNE may receive grievances from community members regarding a school’s actions or conduct. Since independent schools are entities that govern themselves, they are expected to have processes for addressing the concerns of individuals and families they serve. If someone reports an issue regarding a member school to AISNE—regardless of whether that member school is accredited by AISNE—the Executive Director or Director of Accreditation will encourage the individual to pursue the issue directly with appropriate school personnel utilizing the school’s articulated process of addressing concerns.

While AISNE does not have legal authority over any of its member schools, AISNE takes seriously its mission and obligation to advise its accredited schools continuously based upon compliance with the Criteria and Standards. AISNE serves its accredited schools by assisting them with their own continuous improvement through a rigorous and ongoing cycle of accreditation and reaccreditation.

AISNE does not intervene on behalf of any individual or family in issues or disputes that they may have with an accredited school. However, if AISNE receives a complaint about a candidate for accreditation or an AISNE-accredited school, it may decide to review such matter if the information, if true, could lead to a loss of accreditation (or a failure of a candidate school to receive accreditation). In such a situation, AISNE’s goal is to ensure that its accredited school maintains compliance with the Criteria and Standards. AISNE will therefore only review allegations of practices or conduct that AISNE deems, in its sole discretion, seriously impact the quality and effectiveness of the school’s program and are in conflict with the Criteria and Standards. In the event that a reporting party has instituted litigation against an accredited school, AISNE will not take any action while the matter is being litigated.

The AISNE staff will evaluate how to respond to complaints against member schools that are not accredited by AISNE at their discretion.

AISNE expects individuals not to make anonymous complaints. Although there are circumstances in which an anonymous complaint can be better than none at all, it is far more difficult to determine the facts of what occurred if complaints are made anonymously and action will generally not be taken against an accredited school solely on the basis of an anonymous report. AISNE also expects that individuals provide complaints in writing so as to ensure AISNE adequately understands the nature of the concerning action or conduct.

AISNE will generally forward and may discuss complaints, whether written or oral, that it receives about any member school to the head of that school (or chair of the school’s board of trustees if the concern involves the head of school). AISNE may also report the complaint to local authorities, if required under applicable law. When pursuing these complaints, AISNE is not acting on behalf of the individual that raised the complaint, but rather forwarding information received to the involved AISNE member school.

Any action undertaken by AISNE as the result of an allegation or complaint will remain a matter between AISNE and the school. The decision whether to notify the reporting party or make any public comment concerning the status of an accredited school or any other issue considered by AISNE will be made at the discretion of AISNE’s leadership.

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