Seattle Public Schools

3207 Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying of Students

The district is committed to a safe, civil, and equitable environment that is free from harassment, intimidation, or bullying of any student. 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 to do their best both cognitively and emotionally.
  • A belief that the district has the opportunity to create safe and positive educational 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 well-being, and learning outcomes.

This policy prohibits harassment, intimidation, and bullying of students and applies when the targeted person of harassment, intimidation, or bullying is a student enrolled in the district and the aggressor is also a student enrolled in the district. This policy and accompanying procedure do not govern harassment, intimidation, or bullying of or by an employee, volunteer, parent/legal guardian, or community member.

As defined in Chapter 28A.600 RCW, “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 RCW 28A.642.010, or other distinguishing characteristics, when the intentional act:

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

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

“Other distinguishing characteristics” may 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 toward a student. 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 may 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 directed toward a student.

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 of students 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 toward students. In its efforts to train students, the district will seek partnerships with families, law enforcement, and other community agencies.

Supports and Interventions

Supports and 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 a student for reporting harassment, intimidation, or bullying, being identified as a targeted student, 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 who knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline. However, students or employees will not be disciplined for making a report in good faith.

Compliance Officer

The Superintendent shall appoint a compliance officer as the primary district contact to receive copies of all formal and informal complaints and oversee 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.