Seattle Public Schools


Discipline and Behavior

Safe and Welcoming Environments in Seattle Public Schools

Meaningful learning occurs in environments that are inclusive, safe, welcoming, consistent, and predictable. 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 inclusivity and 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.

In committing to safe and welcoming environments in Seattle Public Schools, we recognize the racial disproportionality in the disciplinary responses across our school system AND are dedicated to creating the conditions and relationships for all students to be successful. When students can 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.  To accomplish this, we will need to:

  • Eliminate barriers that keep students from learning by using trauma informed and culturally responsive practices to support students academically, behaviorally, socially and emotionally;
  • Address the undeniable harm and impact on student engagement and graduation rates when exclusionary practices are used;
  • Provide inclusive and welcoming environments that center student motivation, learning and sense of belonging;
  • Design learning that provides students with flexible options to learn and share what they know;
  • Use student voice to co-create options that ensure more inclusive and equitable learning.

Successful safe and welcoming environments can be measured by students who feel comfortable speaking to school staff when they experience emotional and/or physical stressors that negatively impact their behavior and staff who demonstrate their commitment to supporting students identifying them as a trusted adult.

Community agencies offer assistance and information on health and human services available to King County residents. To access information call 800-621-4636 or 211. For mental health support call 988.

The Basic Rules of Seattle Public Schools 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 established through the lens of prevention within an inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment.  Stakeholders, students, families, educators, administrators, district staff, and volunteers, co-create shared school-wide behavioral expectations, common language, as well as discipline procedures and strategies that aim to maximize instructional time and reduce out of classroom and school consequences for behavior.  School staff are committed to implementing disciplinary responses that affirm all students’ connection to their school community, while nurturing and restoring student-school relationships.

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 Basic Rules of Seattle Public Schools Handbook, pages 24-30.

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 Removal 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