Seattle Public Schools

Discipline and Behavior

Basic Rules, Rights, and Responsibilities

Basic Rules of Seattle Public Schools

Basic Rules of Seattle Public Schools Handbook

Basic Rules of Seattle Public Schools Flyer

Discipline Reference Documents and Tools (updated for 2023-2024 school year)

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.

Seattle Public Schools recognizes:

  • There is racial disproportionality in disciplinary responses within the district;
  • Each situation involving discipline may be complex with underlying factors that require staff to understand the meaning of students’ behaviors;
  • Students, parents, and guardians have a right to be active partners in providing input prior to the school engaging in the disciplinary decision-making process;
  • Those involved with the disciplinary decision- making process should consider mitigating and extenuating factors; and
  • There is an undeniable negative impact on student engagement and graduation rates when exclusionary practices are used.

Student Rights

As a member of the school community, students have the right to:

  • An inclusive, safe and welcoming classroom and school culture;
  • Access to a high-quality education and extracurricular activities;
  • Be seen, known, cared for, heard, and valued;
  • Experience visibility and representation of your culture in your school’s staff and throughout the curriculum;
  • Be given opportunity to learn from mistakes with culturally responsive social emotional and behavioral support;
  • A clear pathway for reporting racist activity without retaliation;
  • Be given the opportunity to learn from mistakes and be supported to make desired changes as identified by you, your parent and guardian and school staff.

Additionally, students have fundamental rights (WAC 392-400-805) and schools may not unlawfully infringe on those rights:

  • Freedom from Unlawful Discrimination
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Freedom of Press
  • Freedom to Peaceably Assemble
  • Freedom to Petition for a Redress of Grievances
  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom from Sectarian Control or Influence
  • Freedom from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
  • Freedom to Pursue an Education while in the custody of the District
  • Right to Equal Educational Opportunity

Student Responsibilities

As a member of the school community, you should take personal responsibility to:

  • Share with a trusted adult when you are experiencing emotional and/or physical stressors for the purpose of obtaining culturally appropriate resources or support;
  • Ask for help with meeting your educational, cultural, social, and emotional needs;
  • Engage in mutually respectful dialogue with staff and other students;
  • Attend school and be prepared for classes to the best of your ability;
  • Contribute to an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment;
  • Respect and be mindful of the rights of others;
  • Follow the Basic Rules of Seattle Public Schools and individual school rules;
  • Dress in school in ways that are consistent with School Board Policy No. 3224;
  • Identify yourself to and follow reasonable requests from school staff; and
  • Respect the property of others and the school. (See School Board Policy No. 3520).

If you believe that your rights have been violated, please contact the discipline office at:

206-252-8020 or email:

Seattle Public Schools Staff are ethically bound to:

  • Ensure an inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment where students feel seen, heard, and valued;
  • Know, care for, and establish positive relationships with students;
  • Utilize verbal de-escalation skills in addressing student behavior;
  • Provide students the opportunities to learn from mistakes with culturally responsive behavioral, social, and emotional support;
  • Implement disciplinary responses that are least disruptive to the student-school relationship, while also maximizing instructional time;
  • Partner with students and their families to identify and support their needs;
  • Examine their own implicit bias, while working from a culturally responsive and trauma informed lens;
  • Seek out, attend, and engage in professional learning that promotes the use of anti-racist practices;
  • Be responsible for teaching and modeling accountability, repairing and restoring relationships with students, and ensuring fair and transparent responses to practices.

If you break a school rule, you have a right to:

  • Timely investigations into disciplinary incidents;
  • Be treated with dignity. be allowed to tell your side of the story, and have it documented;
  • Explanation of disciplinary decision/response to you and family;
  • An actively anti-racist disciplinary response with reasonable consequences, including restorative practices and/or mediation;
  • Written notification within 24 hours to you and family after initial verbal notification;
  • Provide communication in your identified home language;
  • Have your family involved in any disciplinary response;
  • Stay informed in your identified home language;
  • Request appeal of suspensions and expulsions within five (5) school business days and emergency removals within three (3) school business days;
  • Be provided information on your right to appeal.

If you have questions regarding the discipline appeals process, please contact

  • Academic Dishonesty/Plagiarism
  • Arson
  • Assault
  • (Physical) Aggression
  • Computer Misuse, Tampering and Trespass
  • Dangerous Weapons
  • Discriminatory Harassment
  • Discriminatory Language
  • Disobedience
  • Disruptive Conduct
  • Distributing Alcoholic Beverages
  • Distributing Illegal Drugs, Controlled Substances, Prescription, or Over-the-counter Drugs
  • Distributing Marijuana
  • Distributing Tobacco/Nicotine Products
  • Extortion, Blackmail, Coercion
  • False Alarm
  • False Reporting
  • False Threats
  • Fighting
  • Firearms
  • Fireworks, Explosives, Chemicals, and Incendiary Devices
  • Gambling
  • Graffiti
  • Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying
  • Hate Group Activity
  • Hazing
  • Inappropriate Language
  • Inappropriate Touching
  • Interference with School Authorities
  • Intimidation of School Authorities
  • Lewd Conduct
  • Malicious Property Damage
  • Misrepresentation
  • Other Exceptional Misconduct
  • Possessing or Using Alcoholic Beverages
  • Possessing or Using Illegal Drugs, Controlled Substances, Prescription, or Over-the-counter Drugs
  • Possessing or using Marijuana
  • Possessing or Using Tobacco/Nicotine Products, including electronic vapor devices
  • Possessing Stolen Property
  • Robbery
  • Rule-Breaking
  • Selling Alcoholic Beverages
  • Selling Illegal Drugs, Controlled Substances, Prescription, or Over-the-counter Drugs
  • Selling Marijuana
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Theft
  • Threats of Violence
  • Trespass

Seattle Public Schools prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by students on school property, on school-sponsored transportation, or as part of school activities. Compliance with this rule is mandatory; students who disregard the prohibition may be subject to a disciplinary response. Seattle Public Schools offers or can assist in arranging access to drug and alcohol education, counseling, and recovery support. For further information, contact your school leader, school social worker, or school counselor.

If the school leader proposes a disciplinary response, and a student thinks that is unfair or inappropriate, the student has the right to appeal the imposed discipline. The various processes for appealing are contained in the Basic Rules of Seattle Public Schools handbook, which may be obtained from the student’s school or from the Student Discipline Office at 206-252-0820

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) provides Equal Educational Opportunities and Equal Employment Opportunities and does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex; race; creed; color; religion; ancestry; national origin; age; economic status; sexual orientation, including gender expression or identity; pregnancy; marital status; physical appearance; the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability; honorably discharged veteran or military status; or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal.

SPS provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. For students and members of the public, the following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination and may be reached by mail, by phone, or email as specified in the information below:

Seattle Public Schools
MS 32-149
PO Box 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-1166

For sex discrimination concerns, including sexual harassment, contact:

Title IX Grievance Coordinator

For disability discrimination concerns contact:

ADA/Section 504 Grievance Coordinator

For all other types of discrimination, contact:
Student Civil Rights Coordinator,