Seattle Public Schools

3207 Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying – Students

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. To ensure the entire Seattle Public Schools community is educated or can work in a safe and nurturing environment, the following beliefs support this policy: 

  • 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. 

This policy applies when the targeted person of harassment, intimidation, or bullying is a student. Refer to Policy 5207 if the targeted person is a District staff member or volunteer. 

As defined in legislation, “harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act including, but are not limited to, one shown to be motivated by any characteristic in RCW 28A.640.010 and 28A.642.010, or other distinguishing characteristics, when the intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act: 

  • Physically harms a student or adult or damages the student’s or adult’s property; or 
  • Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education or the adult’s work environment; or 
  • Is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational or work environment; or 
  • Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of school or work. 

Nothing in this section requires the affected student or adult to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the harassment, intimidation or bullying.  

“Other distinguishing characteristics” can include, but are not limited to, physical appearance, clothing or other apparel, socioeconomic status, or weight. 

“Intentional acts” refers to the individual’s choice to engage in the act rather than the ultimate impact of the action(s). 


This policy recognizes that “harassment,” “intimidation,” and “bullying” are separate but related behaviors. Each must be addressed appropriately. The accompanying procedure differentiates the three behaviors; however, this differentiation should not be considered part of the legal definition of these behaviors. 

Harassment, intimidation or bullying can take many forms including, but not limited to, slurs, rumors, jokes, innuendoes, demeaning comments, drawings, cartoons, pranks, gestures, physical attacks, threats, or other written, oral, physical or electronically transmitted messages or images. 

This policy is not intended to prohibit expression of religious, philosophical, or political views, provided that the expression does not substantially disrupt the educational environment. Many behaviors that do not rise to the level of harassment, intimidation or bullying may still be prohibited by other district policies or building, classroom, or program rules. 


This policy is a component of the district’s responsibility to create and maintain a safe, civil, respectful, and inclusive learning community and shall be implemented in conjunction with comprehensive training of staff and volunteers. Specific training requirements will be included in the accompanying Superintendent Procedure. 


The district will provide students with strategies aimed at preventing harassment, intimidation, and bullying. In its efforts to train students, the district will seek partnerships with families, law enforcement, and other community agencies. 


Interventions are designed to remediate the impact on the targeted student(s) and others impacted by the violation, to change the behavior of the aggressor and to restore a positive school climate. 

The district shall consider the frequency of incidents, developmental age of the student, and severity of the conduct in determining intervention strategies. Interventions may include, but are not limited to, counseling, correcting behavior and discipline, restorative practices when voluntary and appropriate, law enforcement referrals, and other remedies or responses as appropriate. 

Students with Individual Education Plans or Section 504 Plans 

If allegations are proven that a student with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan has been the aggressor or target of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, the school will convene the student’s IEP or Section 504 team to determine whether the incident had an impact on the student’s ability to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The meeting should occur regardless of whether that harassment, intimidation, or bullying incident was based on the student’s disability. During the meeting, the team will evaluate issues such as the student’s academic performance, behavioral issues, attendance, and participation in extracurricular activities. If a determination is made that the student is not receiving a FAPE as a result of the harassment, intimidation, or bullying incident, the district will provide additional services and supports as deemed necessary, such as counseling, monitoring, and/or reevaluation or revision of the student’s IEP or Section 504 Plan, to ensure the student receives a FAPE. 

Retaliation/False Allegations 

Retaliation is prohibited and will result in appropriate discipline. It is a violation of this policy to threaten or harm someone for reporting harassment, intimidation, or bullying, or participating in an investigation. 

It is also a violation of district policy to knowingly report false allegations of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Students or employees will not be disciplined for making a report in good faith. However, persons found to knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline. 

Compliance Officer 

The Superintendent shall appoint a compliance officer as the primary district contact to receive copies of all formal and informal complaints and ensure policy implementation. The name and contact information for the compliance officer will be communicated throughout the district. The district compliance officer will participate in at least one mandatory training opportunity offered by OSPI. 

The Superintendent is directed to develop procedures for this policy, as necessary.