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How to write a formal letter of complaint to the school board

Updated March 23, 2017

Letters of complaint are issued to school boards for the sole reason of acknowledging a criticism or problem. Letters written to the school board should be formal, direct and respectful. When you write a letter of complaint, direct it either to the entire board or a specific board member. Keep the letter short and to the point, making certain that the reason for the letter is clearly expressed.

Address the letter. On the top of a formal letter of complaint, include the school board's name and address. If the letter is aimed at one specific person, include that name. If the letter is aimed at the entire board, write "To the School Board." An e-mail letter of complaint should never be written; instead, always type a formal letter and mail it to the board.

State the purpose of the letter. The first paragraph should contain a summary of the precise problem or criticism. This paragraph identifies what the entire letter is about.

Explain the situation. Using a positive and respectful tone, explain the details of the situation. If there are specific times and dates relevant to the problem, state those to increase the credibility of your information. Include names of anyone involved in the situation and keep the letter of complaint short, usually one page. If there are many details that are necessary to include, don't cut yourself short by not including them. If the details are pertinent to the situation, include them even if you go over one page.

Use a voice of authority. When writing this letter, use a voice that shows you know what you are talking about and that the situation should be taken seriously. Never make threats in this type of letter or use profanity of any kind.

Ask for a reply. Include a date by which you expect to hear back from them. This will often motivate the board to take action soon. The board may respond initially with a letter acknowledging the receipt of your letter. The board may also call you and briefly explain when a response will be made.

Close the letter. When closing a letter of complaint, it is normally signed "Sincerely." Include your name, address and phone number on the letter.

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About the Author

Jennifer VanBaren started her professional online writing career in 2010. She taught college-level accounting, math and business classes for five years. Her writing highlights include publishing articles about music, business, gardening and home organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.