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Student Civil Rights

How to Report a Discrimination Concern

SPS Non-Discrimination Complaint Procedure

Non-Discrimination Statement

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 also provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.

What is discrimination?
Discrimination is unfair or unlawful treatment of a person or group because they are part of a defined group, known as a protected class. Discrimination may include treating a person differently or denying someone access to a program, service, or activity because they are part of a protected class, or failing to accommodate a person’s disability. Discriminatory harassment is verbal or physical harassment based on a protected class.

What is a protected class?
A protected class is a group of people who share common characteristics and are protected from discrimination and harassment by federal, state, or local laws. Protected classes in Seattle Public Schools are those groups identified in the Non-Discrimination Statement above, such as sex, race, etc.

Student, Family, and Community Discrimination Concerns

For students, parents/caregivers, and members of the public, the Office of Student Civil Rights has been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination in Seattle Public Schools:

  • Office of Student Civil Rights, oscr@seattleschools.org, or 206-252-0306
  • Mailing Address: Seattle Public Schools, MS 32-149, P.O. Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1166

You can also contact:

Employee Discrimination Concerns

For employee questions about or requests for disability related accommodations and/or complaints of alleged discrimination, including sexual harassment, contact:

  • Office of Student Civil Rights, oscr@seattleschools.org, or 206-252-0306
  • Mailing Address: Seattle Public Schools, MS 32-149, P.O. Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1166

Discrimination Complaint Procedure

If you believe that you or your child has experienced discrimination or discriminatory harassment at school, you have the right to file a formal complaint.

SPS Discrimination Complaint Form (English) – translations available below

Before filing a formal complaint, you may want to discuss your concerns with your child’s principal or Seattle Public Schools Ombudsperson. This is often the fastest way to resolve your concerns.

This may also lead to solutions that are not available through the formal complaint process. An OSCR staff member can speak with you about what this step, including resolution, could look like.

In most cases, complaints must be filed within one year from the date of the discriminatory event. A complaint must be in writing, describe what happened, and state why you believe it is discrimination. It is also helpful to include what actions you would like the district to take to resolve your complaint. Some complaints may not be considered complete until the signed Affirmation and Authorization form is received granting permission to disclose your identity and to investigate your complaint. Complaints may be submitted by mail, email, or hand delivery to any District or school administrator, the Office of Student Civil Rights, or Human Resources.

When the school district receives your written complaint, you will be provided a copy of the District’s discrimination complaint procedure. The Office of Student Civil Rights or Human Resources will then make sure that the school district conducts a prompt and thorough investigation. You may also agree to resolve your complaint without an investigation.

The school district must respond to you in writing within 30 calendar days after receiving your complaint, unless you agree on a different date or an exceptional circumstances related to the complaint require an extension of the time limit. If the complaint takes more than 30 calendar days, you will be notified in writing about the reasons for the extension and the anticipated response date.

When the school district responds to your complaint, the response must include:

  1. A summary of the results of the investigation;
  2. Whether or not the district has failed to comply with civil rights requirements related to your complaint;
  3. Notice of your right to appeal, including where and to whom the appeal must be filed; and
  4. Any corrective measures determined necessary to correct any noncompliance.

If you disagree with the school district’s decision, you may appeal to the school board. You must file a notice of appeal in writing to the secretary of the school board within 10 calendar days after you received the school district’s response to your complaint.

The school board will schedule a hearing within 20 calendar days after they received your appeal, unless you agree on a different timeline. At the hearing, you may bring witnesses or other information related to your appeal.

The school board will send you a written decision within 30 calendar days after the district received your notice of appeal. The school board’s decision will include information about how to file a complaint with OSPI.

If you do not agree with the school district’s appeal decision, you may file a complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). A complaint must be filed with OSPI within 20 calendar days after you received the district’s appeal decision.

You may send your complaint to OSPI by:

  • email: Equity@k12.wa.us
  • fax: 360-664-2967
  • Mail:
    • OSPI Equity and Civil Rights Office
      PO Box 47200
      Olympia, WA 98504-7200

Discrimination Complaint Forms

Amharic

Discrimination Complaint Procedures Amharic
SPS Complaint Form Amharic

Chinese

Discrimination Complaint Procedures Chinese
SPS Complaint Form Chinese

English

Discrimination Complaint Procedures English
SPS Complaint Form English

Somali

Discrimination Complaint Procedures Somali
SPS Complaint Form Somali

Spanish

Discrimination Complaint Procedures Spanish
SPS Complaint Form Spanish

Tagalog

Discrimination  Complaint Procedures Tagalog
SPS Complaint Form Tagalog

Vietnamese

Discrimination Complain Procedures Vietnamese
SPS Complaint Form Vietnamese