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    Grievance (Appeal) Procedures for Short-Term Suspensions or Other School-Based Disciplinary Responses

    An appeal of a short-term suspension is called a “grievance”.  Seattle Public Schools has adopted and implemented the grievance procedure found in WAC 392-400-240.  This grievance procedure gives the appealing party an opportunity to dispute a school-based disciplinary response and/or a short-term suspension.  During a grievance hearing, the appealing party requests that the principal change a disciplinary response because they believe a rule was unfairly applied to his or her child or there was something wrong with the way the child was disciplined.

    The short-term suspension starts immediately and may not be held in abeyance unless the principal agrees to hear the grievance prior to imposing the short-term suspension.

    This grievance procedure is not designed for situations involving claims of staff misconduct. If a parent/guardian/family agrees that his/her child was disciplined appropriately, but is concerned that the manner in which the administrator behaved was not appropriate, the complainant may contact the Executive Director for the school.

    Any student, parent, or guardian may appeal the discipline of the student.  There are three steps for appealing discipline at this level, called a grievance.

    1. Parents and/or guardians appealing a discipline sanction have the right to request an informal grievance conference with the building principal or designee within three business days of learning of the discipline sanction.  The school official who disciplined the student will be told that the discipline is being appealed.

    During the informal conference, the principal or designee may question the person appealing, and the person who is appealing may question school staff who were involved in the incident that resulted in discipline.  The principal or designee will decide whether the discipline sanction should stand.

    2. If the person appealing is dissatisfied with the decision at Step One, he or she may present a written or oral request to the Seattle Public Schools’ Disciplinary Appeals Office.  This grievance must be received within three (3) school business days of receiving the decision at Step One.  A hearing officer will be assigned by the Disciplinary Appeals Office to hear the Step Two grievance. The hearing officer will issue a finding within five (5) school business days.

    3. If the person appealing is still dissatisfied with the decision at Step Two, he or she may present a written or oral request for an appeal hearing to the Disciplinary Appeals Council (DAC).  This written or oral request must be received within three (3) school business days after receiving the decision from Step Two. The written request is sent to:

    Student Discipline Appeals Office Mail Stop 31-177

    PO Box 34165

    Seattle, WA 98124-1165.

    The DAC will usually schedule this hearing within ten (10) school business days of    receiving the written request. After the hearing, the DAC will make its decision and notify the family by a written decision mailed within ten (10) school business days after the hearing.

    A student receiving a short-term suspension must begin his or her suspension immediately. The short-term suspension continues even if the suspended student or parent/guardian/family appeals unless the principal waives this requirement. The principal has the discretion to continue or not continue the short-term suspension pending any appeal and the appealing party may not appeal this decision.