Exclusions from school can no longer be indefinite.
Emergency expulsions are now required to be converted to another corrective action within 10 school days.
School districts are now required to make reasonable efforts to assist students to returning to school, including hosting reengagement meetings with students and parents.
More robust discipline data will now be collected, cross tabulated, disaggregated and made publicly available.
A discipline task force will be created to develop standard definitions for discretionary disciplinary actions and investigate the provision of educational services during those exclusions.
The new school discipline law went into effect on September 30, 2014. However, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the state education agncey, is still working out the details of how the law should be implemented.
OSPI issued proposed rules to fill in the details of the new law. While there are many great components of the proposed rules, we believe that they should be strengthened in order to reduce the disparate impact of school discipline and improve outcomes for students. Specifically, Washington Appleseed and our allies at TeamChild, League of Education Voters, ACLU, Office of Education Ombudsman and Equity in Education Coalition are working to make four key substantive changes to the propsal:
1. Ensure that the law applies to all students.
2. Require reengagement meetings for all excluded students.
3. Provide clear guidance to schools on the qualifications of a health and safety exemption and the specific components and access to information involved in reengagement palns.
4. Encourage reduced reliance on exclusionary discipline.
OSPI’s rulemaking process includes a public comment period that extends from now until Monday, May 5, 2014. Everyone who is concerned about transforming school discipline is encouraged to contribute to the conversation and help achieve a final set of rules that live up to legislative intent and help create the best outcomes for kids.
You can submit comments to help make the strongest rules possible. To submit, simply draft a letter or email addressed to Jess Lewis with your thoughts on the proposed rules and suggestions for making them stronger.
Comments must be submitted by noon on May 5, 2014.
Mail: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Attn: Jess Lewis
P.O. Box 47200
Olympia, WA 98504
Washington Appleseed has completed an initial data analysis for selected school districts (Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Marysville, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Yakima). This analysis spotlights the ongoing disproportionate impact of school discipline present in all school districts and emphasizes the disparities from district to district in the use of discipline practices. Above all, this data shows the need for strong, clear rules that help safeguard positive outcomes for Washington students.
Download the analysis packet here (all selected districts included):
Katie Mosehauer, Principal Author
Executive Director, Washington Appleseed
Nicole McGrath, Contributor
Staffff Attorney, TeamChild
Jeannie Nist, Contributor
Statewide Training & Advocacy Coordinator, TeamChild
Karen Pillar, Contributor
Staff Attorney, TeamChild
We gratefully acknowledge the involvement of many people who contributed to this report. Thank you to our team at Garvey Schubert Barer for spearheading the public records request and data collection: Tyler Arnold, Attorney; Michelle DeLappe, Attorney; Kristi Emigh, Paralegal; Roger Hillman, Attorney; Elaine Jackson, Legal Assistant; Rachel Jackson, Records Specialist; Ronald J. Knox, Attorney; Nga Nguyen, Legal Intern; Kasha Roseta, Legal Intern; Don Scaramastra, Attorney; Verna Seal, Paralegal; Victoria Slade, Attorney; and Sandy Ullom, Paralegal. We also gratefully acknowledge Dojo Technologies for compiling all of this information into a database.
Thank you to our team of interns and fellows for conducting and transcribing all of our field interviews and assisting with background research: Samantha Ayala, TeamChild Youth Intern; Randall Enlow, TeamChild Law Student Intern; Meron Fikru, TeamChild Youth Intern; Tamara Howie, TeamChild Law Student Intern; Valerie O’Driscoll, Washington Appleseed Legal Fellow; and Camille Zhou, Washington Appleseed Legal Fellow.
We are very grateful to the individuals who participated in our field interviews to share their perspective on school discipline (for a list of participants, see Appendix A on page 50).
Thank you to those individuals who contributed to or gave thoughtful input during the drafting of this report (organizations and agencies are listed for affiliation only and do not necessarily indicate endorsement of the report): Hillary Behrman, TeamChild; Peter Collins, Seattle University Criminal Justice Department; Sarah Dunne, ACLU of Washington; Ronald J. Knox, Washington Appleseed Board Member (emeritus); Jason Kovacs, Washington Appleseed; Anne Lee, TeamChild; Michael Pierson, Washington Appleseed Board Member; Linda Mangel, ACLU of Washington; Alice Ostdiek, Washington Appleseed Board Member; Kristen Rogers; Sumeer Singla, Washington Appleseed Board Member; Rose Spidell, ACLU of Washington; Caroline Tillier, TeamChild; Tracy Sherman, League of Education Voters.
Thank you to our production team: Erin M. Schadt, copy editing; Katie Mosehauer, graphic design. The preparation of this report was made possible in part with financial support from the Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice.
Washington Appleseed was proud to be a driving force behind the passage of ESSB 5946, establishing the first reforms to school discipline practices in decades.
This new law addresses several of the recommendations in Washington Appleseed's report, Reclaiming Students, and achieves the following: