Student Discipline

Proposed Student Discipline Rules | Chapter 392-400 WAC

OSPI is proposing substantial changes to Chapter 392-400 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). This chapter provides rules for how a public school district may administer student discipline, including notice for parents and due process protections for students who are suspended or expelled.

OSPI is revising these rules to improve the clarity and readability of the rules for both school districts and families. The revisions clarify requirements in law that became effective in 2016 when the legislature passed House Bill 1541. The revisions also increase opportunities for families to participate in the development of discipline policies and in resolving discipline-related issues.

OSPI filed its revised proposed student discipline rules on February 21, 2018. The filing supplements the proposed revisions that OSPI made to the student discipline rules in chapter 392-400 WAC on September 6, 2017. OSPI has substantially modified the initial rules in response to over 50 written comments and public testimony received at four rulemaking hearings held across the state.

Proposed rules

Official OTS Copy | PDF Version (ADA Accessible)

Written Comments

OSPI welcomes and encourages comments on the revised proposed rules. Please submit written comments to Dierk Meierbachtol, OSPI Chief Legal Officer, by May 2, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

Dierk Meierbachtol, Chief Legal Officer
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
PO Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200

Public Hearings

OSPI will hold public hearings to receive comments about the proposed rules:

March 30, 2018 | 1:00 p.m.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Brouillet Conference Room
600 Washington St.
Olympia, WA 98504

Those wishing to testify at the March 30, 2018, hearing in Olympia should arrive by 1:00 p.m.

April 2, 2018 | 5:30–8:30 p.m.
Tukwila Public Library
Meeting Room
14380 Tukwila International Blvd.
Tukwila, WA 98168

May 2, 2018, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Northeast Washington ESD 101
4202 South Regal Street
Spokane, WA 99223

To arrange accommodations for persons with disabilities, please contact Kristin Murphy at 360-725-6133 or TTY 360-664-3631, or by email at by the following date:

  • Olympia or Tukwila hearings: March 23, 2018
  • Spokane hearing: April 25, 2018

For language interpreter services, please contact Jennifer Stevens at 360-725-6162 or TTY 360-664-3631, or by email at, by the following date:

  • Olympia or Tukwila hearings: March 23, 2018
  • Spokane hearing: April 25, 2018

Highlights of the Proposed Rules

The following information provides a summary of the revisions to the student discipline rules.

For a more detailed summary of the proposed rule revisions
Revisions in Detail (PDF)

Limiting the use of suspension or expulsion
Under current state law, a student can be suspended for more than ten days or expelled only for serious types of behavior. Even for serious types of behavior, state law encourages districts to consider actions other than suspension or expulsion. The proposed rules encourage schools to use best practices to address behavior without removing students from the classroom. For example, schools would be prohibited from suspending or expelling a student for absences or tardiness.
WAC 392-400-430 through 392-400-445

Clear definitions and procedures for types of discipline
The proposed rules set clearer definitions, limitations, and due process protections for different types of discipline. This includes suspensions, expulsions, emergency expulsions, and other exclusions from the classrooms. For example, the proposed rules clarify when an exclusion from class amounts to a suspension, which would require additional notice and due process for the student and the student’s parents. For each type of discipline, the rules clarify when parents must be notified and what procedures schools must follow. The revisions aim to ensure schools administer discipline appropriately, accurately report discipline data, and follow proper procedures.
WAC 392-400-110 through 392-400-530

Educational services during a suspension or expulsion
Under current state law, school districts must provide students the opportunity to receive educational services during any suspension or expulsion. The proposed rules provide guidelines for how school districts provide educational services according to the student’s needs and the type of suspension or expulsion.
WAC 392-400-610

Student reengagement
Under current state law, when a school district administers a suspension longer than ten days or an expulsion, the district must meet with the student and parents to develop a plan to support the student’s successful return to school. The proposed rules encourage a collaborative process between school personnel, the student, and parents to support the student and address the circumstances that led to the suspension or expulsion. The proposed rules include considerations school districts must assess to ensure the reengagement plan is culturally sensitive, culturally responsive, and tailored to students’ individual needs.
WAC 392-400-710

Clear and simple notice and due process procedures
When a school district suspends or expels a student, the proposed rules provide clear and easy-to-follow procedures to notify the student and the student’s parents and resolve any disagreements about the suspension or expulsion. These procedures encourage a collaborative approach to addressing concerns and disagreements about discipline and provide more opportunities for parent participation.
WAC 392-400-450 through 392-400-480 and 392-400-515 through 392-400-530

Highlights of the Supplemental Revisions to the Initial Proposed Rules

Culturally responsive
“Culturally responsive” is defined to have the same meaning as “cultural competency” in RCW 28A.410.270.

Classroom exclusions
The proposed WAC 392-400-330 and 392-400-335 are revised to provide conditions, limitations, and procedures for classroom exclusions that do not exceed the balance of a school day. The revised proposed rules clarify that a student may not be removed from school during a classroom exclusion unless the school district provides notice and due process for a short-term suspension, expulsion, or emergency expulsion.

Administrative transfers
The proposed WAC 392-400-430, regarding general conditions and limitations for suspensions and expulsions, is revised to clarify that this section does not preclude a school district from administratively transferring a student, provided that the basis for the transfer is not the student’s behavioral violation.

Initial hearing with student
The proposed WAC 392-400-450 is revised to provide an additional opportunity for parents to participate. At an initial hearing in which the principal is considering administering a long-term suspension or expulsion, the principal must make a reasonable attempt to contact the student’s parents to provide an opportunity for the parents to participate in the initial hearing in person or by telephone.

Petitions to extend expulsions
The proposed WAC 392-400-480 is revised to provide an option to request the school board review and reconsider a school district’s decision to extend a student’s expulsion.

Emergency expulsions
The proposed WAC 392-400-510 is revised to limit the use of emergency expulsions to situations where a school district has sufficient cause to believe that a student’s presence poses an immediate and continuing danger to other students or school personnel.

Suspensions and expulsions administered by another district
The proposed WAC 392-400-810 is revised to allow a school district, following notice and due process, to continue to administer a long-term suspension or expulsion administered by another school district when the student’s behavioral violation would also be a violation of the district’s discipline policy.


   Updated 3/16/2018

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