Discrimination Complaint

Non-Discrimination Statement and Discrimination Complaint Procedure

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 guide dog or service animal. SPS also provides equal access to the Boy Scouts of America and other designated youth groups.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is 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 person’s membership in 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.

How do I file a complaint about discrimination?

If you believe that someone has experienced discrimination or discriminatory harassment at school in the work environment, you have the right to file a formal complaint. For a full copy of the school district’s nondiscrimination complaint procedure, email the Office of Student Civil Rights at

Before filing a complaint, you may want to discuss your concerns with a school building principal, a work site supervisor, or Seattle Public School’s Ombudsperson at

To file a formal complaint of discrimination:
For students, parents/caregivers, and members of the public, the Office of Student Civil Rights (OSCR) has been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination in Seattle Public Schools. To contact a member of OSCR, call 206-252-0306; by email at; or mail to Seattle Public Schools, MS 32-149, P.O. Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1166. In the Office of Student Civil Rights, the following staff address specific types of discrimination complaints:

  • For sex discrimination or sexual harassment concerns, contact the Title IX Specialist at 206- 252-0367 or by email at
  • For disability discrimination concerns, contact the 504/ADA Grievance Coordinator at 206- 252-0306 or by email at

For employee questions about or requests for disability related accommodations and/or complaints of alleged employment discrimination, including sexual harassment, contact the Chief Human Resources Officer at 206-252-0024 or by email at or by mail at Seattle Public Schools, MS 33-157, P.O. Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1166.

Seattle Public Schools Discrimination Complaint Procedure

Step 1: Complaint to the School District

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. Complaints may be submitted by mail, email, or hand delivery to any central office 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 takes action to resolve the complaint, which could include a prompt and thorough investigation. You may also agree to resolve your complaint without an investigation through an alternative dispute resolution process, such as mediation.

The school district must respond 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 responsedate.

When the school district responds to your complaint, the response must clearly state whether the school district:

  1. Denies the allegations contained in the complaint; or
  2. Confirms the allegations and lists the corrective measures.

Additionally, the response will contain notice of your right to appeal if the school district denies the allegation, including where and to whom the appeal must be filed.

Step 2: Appeal to the Superintendent

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

Upon receipt of a timely appeal, the Superintendent shall appoint a neutral hearing examiner to review the appeal. A hearing will be scheduled and you may bring witnesses or other information related to your appeal to the hearing.

A written decision will be sent to you within 30 calendar days after the district received your notice of appeal. The written decision will include information about how to file a complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Step 3: Complaint to 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. 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 e-mail:; fax: 360-664-2967; or mail: OSPI Equity and Civil Rights Office, PO Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.