Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–354. Authority.

The Ombudsman shall:

(1) Have access to books, records, files, reports, findings, and all other papers, items, or property (“documents”) belonging to or in use by all departments, agencies, instrumentalities, and employees of public schools necessary to facilitate the purpose of this chapter excluding the Executive Office of the Mayor, the Council, and the District of Columbia courts; provided, that such access is limited to documents related to the student or parent or guardian that the Office of Ombudsman is assisting;

(2) Have full access to student educational records as allowed by federal and local law;

(3) Speak in regard to educational issues under the purview of the Office of Ombudsman with any official or employee within the public school system without the permission of the individual’s supervisor;

(3A) Have the authority to observe instruction at any District of Columbia public school (“DCPS”) or public charter school; provided, that DCPS or the public charter school may require advance notice before an observation may take place, but shall impose no other conditions or restrictions on such observations except those necessary to:

(A) Ensure the safety of children in a program; or

(B) To protect children in the program from disclosure by an observer of confidential and personally identifiable information if such information is obtained in the course of an observation;

(4) Examine and investigate an act or failure to act of any public school official or employee, including whether actions or failures to act are unreasonable, unfair, or discriminatory, even though in accordance with the law;

(5) Determine which complaints and concerns warrant further examination and investigation;

(5A) Bring persons together to resolve conflicts that are not in formal legal or administrative proceedings[;]

(6) Examine any matter under the purview of the Office of Ombudsman, whether initiated by a complaint or another means;

(7) Forward to the Office of the Inspector General all complaints and concerns that require an audit or investigation of a school or a program, agency, or department within DCPS that falls within the purview of the Office of the Inspector General; and

(8) Forward to the Deputy Mayor for Education any policy recommendations that the Ombudsman determines would be helpful to prevent and detect corruption, mismanagement, waste, fraud, and abuse within DCPS.