Don't Let New Discipline Rules Get You In Trouble

Scott Friedman
Aug 24, 2018

Student with paper airplane

I’m in trouble...I’m not in trouble...am I in trouble? Confused? After two years of writing and revising, OSPI finally adopted new state rules (WACs) for student discipline. The rules describe how school administrators discipline students, communicate with parents, and provide guidance and due process expectations for suspended or expelled students. 

It’s going to take time to wade through everything. You might have to change processes. New rules might require board approval. You’ll definitely want to communicate the changes with students, staff, parents, and community. Staff will need training. 

All that’s to say, you have a lot of work on your plate. OSPI will phase the rules in over a two-year period, starting in the 2018-19 school year with classroom exclusions, absences and tardiness, the right to educational services, and student re-engagement plans. The following year, new rules kick in for parent notification requirements, appeal and grievance procedures, and new conditions and limitations will be required. 

We’ll put out our own resources for handling the student discipline rules in the coming weeks. Fortunately, OSPI has a bunch of resources ready now. OSPI really wants districts, buildings, and classrooms to have the resources and supports they need with a holistic student discipline view, including classroom management, mental health, and restorative justice. 

For the time being, here’s a to-do list you might find helpful:

  • Read sections of the WAC related to the changes that go into effect this school year and compare the information with your student handbook.

  • Familiarize yourself with the rules defining misconduct and the distribution of these rules in WAC 392-400-225.

  • This WAC lists the ways in which you are required to inform parents/guardians, students, and other stakeholders regarding your discipline rules. It also speaks to disaggregated data collection.

  • Read the Discipline in Schools: A Parent Guide, along with the quick introduction guide. They're both great to use with your staff.

  • Share the updated information regarding the rules with your staff. In some cases, not all, the newly adopted rules will require a change in how student discipline has been applied in your school.

  • View the technical guide

  • Read the corrected version of the final rules’ Concise Explanatory Statement.

You can find these resources and other information regarding the final discipline rules on OSPI’s New Student Discipline Rules webpage. As always, AWSP is here to help. After reviewing the information, please call our office at 1-800-562-6100 if you have any questions.




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