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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien,WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Grievance and Appeal Processes

Grievance

A grievance is when a student has been disciplined at school, but has not be suspended or expelled.

Any student or parent/guardian who is aggrieved by the imposition of discipline, including a classroom exclusion, shall have the right to an informal conference with the school principal for the purpose of resolving the grievance. The employee whose action is being grieved shall be notified of the initiation of a grievance as soon as reasonably possible and, if appropriate, be involved in the conference. During such conference the student, parent or guardian may be questioned by school authorities and is entitled to question school personnel involved in the matter being grieved.

In the event the grievance is not resolved at the building level, the student, parent or guardian, upon two school business days’ prior notice, shall have the right to present a written and/or oral grievance to the Superintendent or designee.   

If the grievance is still not resolved, the student, parent or guardian, shall have the right to present a written or oral grievance to either (a) a 2-person subcommittee of the Board or (b) a meeting of the full Board in an open public meeting. The student, parent or guardian must request a chance to present the grievance to the Board or a Board subcommittee within two school business days after receiving the decision of the Superintendent or designee. In either case the Board shall notify the student, parent or guardian of its response to the grievance within 10 school business days after the date of the meeting. The discipline action shall continue notwithstanding the implementation of the grievance procedure set forth in this section unless the principal or his or her designee elects to postpone such action. 

To Present a Grievance

To present a grievance call 206-631-3070 or send a written request to the Office of the Superintendent, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, 98166.

Appeal and Review Process

Depending on the type of discipline the appeal and review process changes. Please see below for how to appeal. 

Emergency Expulsion

Emergency expulsion is the removal of a student from school because the student's presence poses an immediate and continuing danger to other students or school personnel, or an immediate and continuing threat of material and substantial disruption of the educational process.

Optional Conference with Principal

If a student or the parents disagree with the school district's decision to administer an emergency expulsion, the student or parents may request an informal conference with the principal or designee to resolve the disagreement. The request for an informal conference may be made orally or in writing.

The principal or designee must hold the conference within three school business days after receiving the request, unless otherwise agreed to by the student and parents.

During the informal conference, the principal or designee must provide students and parents the opportunity to share the student's perspective and explanation regarding the events that led to the emergency expulsion.

An informal conference does not limit a student’s or parent’s/guardian’s right to appeal the emergency expulsion, but the request for appeal must still be received within three (3) school business days from the date of the emergency expulsion notice.

To request an optional conference contact your school.

Appeal

A student or the parent/guardian may appeal an emergency expulsion to the school district Superintendent’s designee orally or in writing.

The appeal must be received by the Superintendent’s designee within three (3) school business days from the date of the emergency expulsion notice. 

Within one school business day after receiving the appeal request, unless otherwise agreed to by the student and parents, the Superintendent’s designee must provide the student and parents written notice in person, by mail, or by email of:

  • The time, date, and location of the appeal hearing;
  • The name(s) of the official(s) presiding over the appeal;
  • The student's and parents' rights to inspect the student's education records;
  • The student's and parents' rights to inspect any documentary or physical evidence and a list of any witnesses that will be introduced at the hearing; and
  • The student's and parents'/guardians’ rights.

Appeal Hearing

The school district must hold an appeal hearing as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than two school business days after the date the appeal request was received, unless otherwise agreed to by the student and parents.

A hearing officer will hear and decide appeals under this section. The hearing officer may not be involved in the student's behavioral violation or decision to emergency expel the student and must be knowledgeable about the state discipline rules and the district's discipline policies and procedures.

Upon request, the student, parents, and school district may inspect any documentary or physical evidence and a list of any witnesses that will be introduced at the appeal hearing. The school district, student, or parent/guardian must make the information available as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than the end of the school business day before the appeal hearing.

Upon request, the student and parent/guardian may review the student's education records. The school district must make the records available as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than the end of the school business day before the appeal hearing.

If a witness for the school district cannot or does not appear at the appeal hearing, the hearing officer may excuse the witness's nonappearance if the district establishes that:

  • The district made a reasonable effort to produce the witness; and
  • The witness's failure to appear is excused by fear of reprisal or another compelling reason.

The student and parent/guardian have the right to:

  • Be represented by legal counsel;
  • Question witnesses;
  • Share the student's perspective and provide explanation regarding the events that led to the emergency expulsion; and
  • Introduce relevant documentary, physical, or testimonial evidence.

The appeal hearing must be recorded by manual, electronic, or other type of recording device. The school district must provide the recording to the student or parents upon request.

The school district must provide a written decision to the student and parent/guardian in person, by mail, or by email within one school business day after the appeal hearing. The written decision must include:

  • The findings of fact;
  • A determination whether the student's presence continues to pose:
    • An immediate and continuing danger to students or school personnel; or
    • An immediate and continuing threat of material and substantial disruption of the educational process.
  • Whether the school district will end the emergency expulsion or convert the emergency expulsion to a suspension or expulsion. If the school district converts the emergency expulsion to a suspension or expulsion, the district must provide the student and parent/guardian notice and due process for what the emergency expulsion was converted to; and
  • Notice of the student's and parents' right to request review and reconsideration of the appeal decision

To request an appeal call 206-631-3070 or send a written request to the Office of the Superintendent, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166.

Review and Reconsideration

The student or parents may request that the School Board review and reconsider the school district's appeal decision.  The student or parent/guardian may request the review orally or in writing.

The request for review and reconsideration must be received within five (5) school business days from the date the school district provided the written appeal decision to the student and parents.

In reviewing the school district's decision, the School Board must consider all documentary and physical evidence related to the events that led to the emergency expulsion, any records from the appeal, relevant state law, and the district's discipline policy.  

The School Board may request to meet with the student or parent/guardian, the principal, witnesses, or school personnel to hear further arguments and gather additional information.

The decision of the School Board must be made only by Board members who were not involved in the events that led to the emergency expulsion, the decision to emergency expel the student, or the appeal decision.

The School Board must provide a written decision to the student and parents in person, by mail, or by email within five school business days after receiving the request for review and reconsideration. The written decision must identify:

  • Whether the School Board affirms or reverses the school district's decision that the student's presence posed:
    • An immediate and continuing danger to students or school personnel; or
    • An immediate and continuing threat of material and substantial disruption of the educational process.
  • If the emergency expulsion has not yet ended or been converted, whether the school district will end the emergency expulsion or convert the emergency expulsion to a suspension or expulsion. If the school district converts the emergency expulsion to a suspension or expulsion, the district must provide the student and parents notice and due process for what the emergency expulsion was converted to.

To request review and reconsideration call 206-631-3070 or send a written request to the Office of the Superintendent, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166.

Short-Term Suspension - In-School and Out-of-School Suspensions

A "short-term suspension" is a suspension (in-school or out-of-school) for any portion of a calendar day up to but not exceeding 10 consecutive school days.  All short-term suspensions and the reasons for them must be reported in writing to the Superintendent or designee within 24 hours.  Entering data into Synergy constitutes reporting to the Superintendent.  Parents/guardians should be contacted prior to suspending the student.

Informal Initial Hearing

Prior to any suspension the Principal/designee must hold an “informal initial hearing” to hear the student’s perspective on the incident.  The student must be given the opportunity to contact their parent/guardian during the hearing.  After the hearing the Principal/designee must inform the student of the decision about discipline and the beginning and end dates of any suspension.

Optional Conference with the Principal

If the student or parents disagree with the school district's decision to suspend or expel the student, the student or parents may request an informal conference with the principal or designee to resolve the disagreement. The request for an informal conference may be made orally or in writing to the school.

The principal or designee must hold the conference within three school business days after receiving the request, unless otherwise agreed to by the student and parents.  The purpose of the conference is to give the student and parent/guardian the opportunity to:

  • Share the student’s perspective and explanation about the incident
  • Confer with the Principal/designee and other school personnel involved in the incident that led to the suspension
  • Discuss other forms of discipline that may be administered

An informal conference does not eliminate the student or parent/guardian’s rights to appeal.  However, the request for appeal must still be received within five school business days from the date of the notice of the suspension.

To request an optional conference contact your school.

Appeal

A student or parent/guardian has the right to appeal a short-term suspension.  A written or oral request for an appeal must be received by the Superintendent’s designee within five (5) school business days from the date the school provided written notice of the suspension.

The appeal can be made orally or in writing.  The purpose of the appeal is to give the student and parent/guardian the opportunity to share the student's perspective and explanation regarding the behavioral violation.

The Superintendent’s designee will deliver a written appeal decision to the student and parents in person, by mail, or by email within two school business days after receiving the appeal. The written decision will include:

  1. The decision to affirm, reverse or modify the suspension;
  2. The duration and conditions of the suspension, including the dates on which the suspension will begin and end;
  3. The educational services the school district will offer to the student during the suspension under WAC 392-400-610; and
  4. Notice of the student's and parents'/guardians' right to request review and reconsideration of the appeal decision under WAC 392-400-470, including where and to whom to make the request.

To request an appeal call 206-631-3070 or send a written request to the Office of the Superintendent, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, 98166.

Review and Reconsideration

The student or parent/guardian may request that the School Board review and reconsider the school district's appeal decision. The student or parent/guardian may request the review orally or in writing.

A student or parent/guardian must request a review of the school district’s decision within ten (10) school business days from the date the school district provides the written appeal decision to the student and parent/guardian.

In reviewing the school district's decision, the School Board must consider:

  • All documentary and physical evidence related to the behavioral violation;
  • Any records from the appeal;
  • Relevant state law; and
  • The District's discipline policy.

The School Board may request to meet with the student or parents, the principal, witnesses, or school personnel to hear further arguments and gather additional information.

The decision of the School Board must be made only by Board members who were not involved in the behavioral violation, the decision to suspend or expel the student, or the appeal decision.

The School Board must provide a written decision to the student and parent/guardian in person, by mail, or by email within ten (10) school business days after receiving the request for review and reconsideration. The written decision must identify:

  • Whether the School Board affirms, reverses, or modifies the suspension or expulsion;
  • The duration and conditions of the suspension or expulsion, including the dates on which the suspension will begin and end

To request review and reconsideration call 206-631-3070 or send a written request to the Office of the Superintendent, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166.

Readmission Process

Any student who has been suspended or expelled will be allowed to apply for readmission at any time.  If a student desires to be readmitted to any school in the district, including the school from which he/she has been suspended or expelled, he/she must submit a written application to the Office of the Superintendent.  The application must include:

  • Reasons the student wants to return and why the request should be considered;
  • Evidence that supports the request; and
  • A supporting statement from the parent or others who may have assisted the student

To request readmission send a written request to the Office of the Superintendent, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166.

Long-Term Suspension & Expulsion

A "long-term suspension" is a suspension for a duration of between 11-60 days (grade 5), between 11-90 days (grades 6-8), or between 11-60 days (grades 9-12).  All long-term suspensions and expulsions and the reasons for them must be reported in writing to the Superintendent or designee within 24 hours.  Entering data into Synergy constitutes reporting to the Superintendent.  Parents/guardians should be contacted prior to suspending a student.

Informal Initial Hearing

Prior to any suspension the Principal/designee must hold an “informal initial hearing” to hear the student’s perspective on the incident.  Principal/designee must attempt to contact the parent/guardian to give them the opportunity to participate in the informal hearing.  After the hearing the Principal/designee must inform the student of the decision about discipline and the beginning and end dates of any suspension.

Optional Conference with the Principal

If the student or parents disagree with the school district's decision to suspend or expel the student, the student or parents may request an informal conference with the principal or designee to resolve the disagreement. The request for an informal conference may be made orally or in writing to the school.

The principal or designee must hold the conference within three school business days after receiving the request, unless otherwise agreed to by the student and parents.  The purpose of the conference is to give the student and parent/guardian the opportunity to:

  • Share the student’s perspective and explanation about the incident
  • Confer with the Principal/designee and other school personnel involved in the incident that led to the suspension
  • Discuss other forms of discipline that may be administered

An informal conference does not eliminate the student or parent/guardian’s rights to appeal.  However, the request for appeal must still be received within five school business days from the date of the notice of the suspension.

To request an optional conference contact your school.

Appeal

A student or parent/guardian has the right to appeal a long-term suspension.  A written or oral request for an appeal must be received by the Superintendent’s designee within five (5) school business days from the date the school provided written notice of the suspension.  

The appeal can be made orally or in writing.  The purpose of the appeal is to give the student and parent/guardian the opportunity to share the student's perspective and explanation regarding the behavioral violation.

Within one (1) school business day after receiving the appeal request, unless otherwise agreed to by the student and parent/guardian, the Superintendent’s designee will provide the student and parents written notice in person, by mail, or by email of:

  1. The time, date, and location of the appeal hearing;
  2. The name(s) of the official(s) presiding over the appeal;
  3. The student's and parents'/guardians’ rights to inspect the student's education records;
  4. The student's and parents'/guardians’ rights to inspect any documentary or physical evidence and a list of any witnesses that will be introduced at the hearing;
  5. The student's and parents'/guardians’ rights under (f) of this subsection; and
  6. Whether the school district will offer to hold a reengagement meeting before the appeal hearing.

Before the appeal hearing, the student, parent/guardian, and school district may agree to hold a reengagement meeting and develop a reengagement plan. The student, parent/guardian, and school district may mutually agree to postpone the appeal hearing while participating in the reengagement process.

The school district must hold an appeal hearing within three (3) school business days from the date the Superintendent’s designee received the appeal request, unless otherwise agreed to by the student or parents/guardians.

The School Board has designated a hearing officer to hear and decide appeals under this section. The hearing officer may not be involved in the student's behavioral violation or decision to suspend or expel the student and must be knowledgeable about the state rules on discipline and of the school district's discipline policies and procedures.

Evidence and Witnesses

Upon request, the student, parents, and school district may inspect any documentary or physical evidence and a list of any witnesses that will be introduced at the appeal hearing. The school district, student, or parents must make the information available as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than the end of the school business day before the appeal hearing.

Upon request, the student and parents may review the student's education records. The district must make the records available as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than the end of the school business day before the appeal hearing.

If a witness for the school district cannot or does not appear at the appeal hearing, the presiding official(s) may excuse the witness's nonappearance if the district establishes that:

  • The district made a reasonable effort to produce the witness; and
  • The witness's failure to appear is excused by fear of reprisal or another compelling reason

Student and Parents/Guardians Rights

During the appeal hearing, the student and parents/guardians have the right to:

  • Be represented by legal counsel;
  • Question witnesses;
  • Share the student's perspective and provide explanation regarding the behavioral violation; and
  • Introduce relevant documentary, physical, or testimonial evidence.

Recording

The appeal hearing must be recorded by manual, electronic, or other type of recording device. The school district must provide the recording to the student or parents upon request.

Appeal Decision

The hearing officer must base the decision solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The hearing officer must provide a written decision to the student and parents in person, by mail, or by email within three school business days after the appeal hearing. The written decision must include:

  • The findings of fact;
  • A determination whether:
    • The student's behavior violated the school district's discipline policy adopted under WAC 392-400-110;
    • The behavioral violation reasonably warrants the suspension or expulsion and the length of the suspension or expulsion; and
    • The suspension or expulsion is affirmed, reversed, or modified;
  • The duration and conditions of the suspension or expulsion, including the dates on which the suspension or expulsion will begin and end;
  • Notice of the student's and parents' right to request review and reconsideration of the appeal decision under WAC 392-400-470, including where and to whom to make the request; and
  • Notice of the opportunity to participate in a reengagement meeting under WAC 392-400-710 and the contact information for the person who will coordinate scheduling of the reengagement meeting

To request an appeal call 206-631-3210 or send a written request to the Office of the Superintendent, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166.

Review and Reconsideration

The student or parent/guardian may request that the School Board review and reconsider the school district's appeal decision. The student or parent/guardian may request the review orally or in writing.

A student or parent/guardian must request a review of the hearing officer’s decision within ten (10) school business days from the date the school district provides its written appeal decision to the student and parent/guardian.

In reviewing the school district's decision, the School Board must consider:

  • All documentary and physical evidence related to the behavioral violation;
  • Any records from the appeal;
  • Relevant state law; and
  • The district's discipline policy.

The School Board may request to meet with the student or parents, the principal, witnesses, or school personnel to hear further arguments and gather additional information.

The decision of the School Board must be made only by Board members who were not involved in the behavioral violation, the decision to suspend or expel the student, or the appeal decision.

Decision

The School Board must provide a written decision to the student and parent/guardian in person, by mail, or by email within ten (10) school business days after receiving the request for review and reconsideration. The written decision must identify:

  • Whether the School Board affirms, reverses, or modifies the suspension or expulsion;
  • The duration and conditions of the suspension or expulsion, including the dates on which the suspension or expulsion will begin and end; and
  • For long-term suspensions or expulsions, notice of the opportunity to participate in a reengagement meeting 

To request review and reconsideration call 206-631-3070 or send a written request to the Office of the Superintendent, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166.

Readmission Process

Any student who has been suspended or expelled will be allowed to apply for readmission at any time.  If a student desires to be readmitted to any school in the district, including the school from which he/she has been suspended or expelled, he/she must submit a written application to the Office of the Superintendent.  The application must include:

  • Reasons the student wants to return and why the request should be considered;
  • Evidence that supports the request; and
  • A supporting statement from the parent or others who may have assisted the student

To request readmission send a written request to the Office of the Superintendent, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166.