Discipline and Behavior

Safe and Welcoming Environments in Seattle Public Schools

Meaningful learning occurs in environments that are safe, welcoming, consistent, and predictable. When students are able to show up as their authentic selves, they feel valued, welcomed and safe in school, and are more likely to participate, stay in school, and learn. Significant increases in academic outcomes for students furthest from educational justice are possible when culturally responsive practices that build trusting relationships, engage students, and empower the voices of students, families, and community in meeting their needs are used.

Seattle Public Schools is committed to furthering cultural responsiveness that respects and values the diversity in schools and in classrooms across the district with an intentional focus on African American boys and teens. This commitment serves to guide decisions in promoting fair and equitable treatment for all.

A safe and welcoming environment is important in promoting a sense of belonging and supporting Seattle Excellence for each and every student. Safe and welcoming schools will include:

  • Educators that share an unconditional belief in the potential for excellence of every student they serve;
  • A vision that understands and acknowledges beliefs, values, rituals, and stories are wide-ranging within a school’s culture and climate;
  • Authentic relationships and interactions between students, families, community members, and staff;
  • Fair and equitable treatment that respects and values all students, families, community members, and staff;
  • Learning environments that are welcoming, safe, and accessible to all;
  • Surveys that examine school climate based on feedback from students, families, community members and staff;
  • Identity safe practices implemented for all students, parents/guardians, community members, and staff regardless of their social identities including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identify, sexual orientation, social economic status, age, ability, citizenship, and body size/type.

An indicator of the successful provision of a safe and welcoming environment are students who feel comfortable speaking to school staff when in need. We understand that students may at times experience emotional and/or physical stressors that negatively impact their behavior. During these times, students are encouraged to share with a trusted adult. Staff are committed to supporting each student so that they are fully able to participate in the school day.

Sometimes additional counseling, support, and resources may be helpful. A number of community agencies offer assistance and information on health and human services and are available to King County residents.
You may call 800-621-4636 or 211 for additional information.

The Seattle Public Schools Student Rights and Responsibilities sets forth the rules and regulations of Seattle Public Schools regarding student behavior. It is created in compliance with the requirements of state law and is aligned with the Seattle Public Schools Strategic Plan. It references sections of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) that govern use of corrective responses (i.e., discipline, suspension, and expulsion) for any student by a school district.

The foundation of Seattle Public Schools’ discipline policy is one of prevention, by establishing a safe and welcoming environment that includes shared school-wide behavioral expectations and a common language co-created by students, families, educators, administrators, district staff, and volunteers within a Tier 1 systems framework. Discipline procedures and strategies aim to maximize instructional time and reduce out of classroom and school consequences for behavior.

Discipline Appeal Process

The Seattle Public Schools publishes The Basic Rules of Seattle Public Schools and distributes it to all students at the beginning of each school year. To read the full Discipline Appeal procedure, please see the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, pages 29-34.

Questions about the Student Rights and Responsibilities or the Discipline Appeal Process may be directed to the Discipline Office at:

Long-term Suspension, Expulsion, or Emergency Expulsion appeals process:

  1. Request a conference with School Leader (optional)
  2. Request an appeal hearing with a Hearing Officer
  3. Appeal to the Discipline Appeal Council

Short-term suspension or In-School suspension appeals process:

  1. Request a conference with School Leader (optional)
  2. Request an On the Record Review by a Hearing Officer
  3. Appeal to the Discipline Appeal Council

Classroom exclusion and other forms of discipline, including exclusion from transportation or extra-curricular activity appeals process:

  1. Request a conference with School Leader.

If you would like to initiate a discipline appeal, please fill out the form below or you can contact us at 206-252-0820 or