Conflict Resolution Process
When conflicts, concerns and issues occur, school staff and leadership of Seattle Public Schools will try to identify, investigate and seek resolution and solutions.
Shared beliefs help ensure the entire Seattle Public Schools community is educated or can work in a safe and nurturing environment.
Conflict Resolution is a Two-step Process
- The first step is to address the concern with the appropriate party who is directly involved with the issue.
- If the issue seems to be unresolved, the second step is to address the concern through the District’s Customer Service and Ombudsperson Department
Read more about the steps involved below.
Issues (such as teaching and learning, social and emotional, safety issues) that occur within the classroom .
Issues (such as policy and procedures, transportation, school-wide health and safety, school communications) that happen at the school or site .
Our Shared Beliefs
To ensure the entire Seattle Public Schools community is educated or can work in a safe and nurturing environment, we hold to the following beliefs:
- A belief that a positive school climate built on the principles of “acceptance” and “respect” is conducive to learning and thus allows students or adults to do their best both cognitively and emotionally.
- A belief that the district has the opportunity to create safe and positive education and work environments through the implementation of policy and procedure.
- A belief that students, staff, parents, and the community have a vested interest in, and should work together to promote, healthy social, emotional, and learning outcomes.
The programs and policies of the Seattle Public School District are intended to foster and enrich student learning and development intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. To accomplish these goals, students, parents, teachers and staff must all work together. Just as students should behave in the positive manner expected of them by their teachers, parents, and peers, so also must administrators, teachers and other staff treat students and parents fairly and equitably, with respect both for groups of people and for the dignity of the individual. When conflicts, concerns and issues occur, school staff and leadership of Seattle Public Schools will try to identify, investigate and seek resolution and solutions.
To that end, it is the policy of the Board to provide an appropriate process for the orderly resolution of concerns and complaints. As part of such process, the Board and the Superintendent expect that school and site level staff will cooperate in an effort to resolve the concerns/complaint and that all parties will be treated with dignity and respect and that an objective and fair resolution will be reached.
Questions and Answers
What if my concern is with the school principal? Whom do I talk with to share my concern?
While conversations that confront the actions of another person may be uncomfortable, it is important to bring concerns forward so the school continues to be a place where families and students feel comfortable, welcomed and a sense of belonging.
If a concern is with the actions of building leader, it is necessary to talk with or communicate those concerns directly to the leader in whatever manner is most comfortable for you.
If helpful, invite a trusted friend or family member to join in the conversation and, to help the building leader seek solutions quickly and/or make adjustments, let the building leader know about the concern as soon as possible.
What if my child is afraid to go to school because of a conflict?
When any student shares discomfort with attending school, it is important to talk with the child to hear his/her/their concerns.
As the parent or caregiver, you know your child best and will be able to assist the child with self-advocacy, if appropriate, and will be your child’s most important advocate if and when contacting the teacher becomes necessary.
If the concern is significant enough to cause anxiety or prevent your child from feeling safe and welcomed at school, and you have talked to your child to believe self-advocacy and self-resolution cannot help resolve the concern, contact your child’s teacher in whatever manner is most comfortable for you.
Model a solution-seeking approach and work with the teacher and your child to help solve the concern so that your child once again feels comfortable and welcomed at school.
Who do I contact when I have a concern about the actions of another parent?
If you have observed inappropriate conduct on the part of a parent, or another parent displays unsafe behavior while at school, avoid discussing your concerns with other parents and contact the school principal to report the incident.
For incidents or concerns regarding other parents that do not have a direct impact on a safe and welcoming environment for students, you are encouraged to reach out to your parent/family/teacher organization at the school such as the Parent, Teacher, Student Association (PTSA) for support.
Who do I contact when I witness an action of harassment, intimidation or bullying?
The district is committed to a safe, civil, and equitable environment for all students, employees, parents/legal guardians, volunteers, and patrons, that is free from harassment, intimidation or bullying (Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying).
Concerns about harassment, intimidation, or bullying (Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying) are should first be reported to a school administrator (Principal or Assistant Principal). Reports can be made verbally or in writing. Reports can also be made using the Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying) Incident Reporting Form found on our Office of Student Civil Rights webpage. Copies of the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Incident Reporting Form should be given to both the School Principal and to the district’s Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Compliance Officer.