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    Ombudsperson Student Rights and Responsibilities Frequently Asked Questions

    This group of questions seeks to answer questions about student rights and responsibilities and how the ombudsperson can help resolve concerns.

    Students, as citizens, have certain constitutional rights and the school system cannot unduly infringe on those rights. The schools may, however set some reasonable limits on those rights in order to meet the district’s obligation to educate.

    What Happens If a Student Breaks a Rule?

    Whenever you are accused of breaking a rule, you have the right to explain your side of the story to your teacher, counselor, assistant principal, or principal before you are disciplined.

    • Your parents may also meet with school staff to help identify and solve problems and to consider appropriate penalties.
    • If some other penalty doesn’t work, you could be suspended.
    • If the offense was very serious, you could be expelled.
    • If there is an emergency, you could be expelled right away and have a conference later.
    • If there has been a criminal offense, normally, the police will be called.

    What If You Think You Are Being Treated Unfairly?

    If the principal or assistant principal proposes to discipline you, and you think the disciplinary action is unfair or inappropriate, you have the right to appeal the discipline imposed on you.

    The various appeals processes are contained in the Student rights and Responsibilities booklet, which can be obtained from your school, from the Student Discipline Office at 206-252-0820 or the Discipline Office webpage.

    Sometimes, problems in school can be helped by counseling on health, emotional, or legal concerns. While the Seattle Public Schools can provide some assistance, its resources are limited.

    A number of community agencies offering such assistance are listed in the Seattle telephone directories, or you may call the Community Information line at 206-461-3200 or 211.

    Center for Children and Youth Justice (Lawyers Furthering Education): 615 2nd Avenue, Suite 275, Seattle, WA 98104 206.696.7503; Info@ccy.org. CCYJ is a 501(C) (3) nonprofit organization.

    When is a student considered to have truant behavior?

    A student is determined to be truant on a school day if he or she is absent in an unexcused status for half or more of the scheduled school day.

    Who will be notified when a student is deemed truant?

    The revised law requires a petition to be filed with the court if a student was truant 7 out of 10 days in any month or 10 or more days in the school year. See generally, RCW 28A.225.

    To learn more call the Truancy office at: 206.252.0825 or visit the Attendance and Truancy webpage.

    Center for Children & Youth Justice (Lawyers Furthering Education): 615 2nd Avenue, Suite 275, Seattle, WA 98104 206.696.7503; Info@ccy.org. CCYJ is a 501(C) (3) nonprofit organization.