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Home » Policy & Funding » Equity and Civil Rights » Nondiscrimination Law & Policy

Nondiscrimination Law & Policy

Contact Information

Equity & Civil Rights

360-725-6162
TTY:
360-664-3631

Preventing & Addressing Discrimination in Student Discipline

Guidelines for implementing Washington's Equal Educational Opportunity Laws: Chapters 28A.640 and 28A.642 RCW and Chapter 392-190 WAC

Published October 2019

These guidelines describe how school districts can meet their obligations under state law to administer student discipline without discrimination. These guidelines constitute OSPI's interpretation of the law and are provided to support school districts' understanding of their obligations under these laws. Schools should consider these guidelines when developing, assessing, and revising discipline policies, procedures, and practices. Schools should also carefully review the guidelines when investigating and responding to complaints alleging discrimination in student discipline.


Prohibiting Discrimination in Washington Public Schools

Guidelines for school districts to implement Chapters 28A.640 and 28A.642 RCW and Chapter 392-190 WAC

Published February 2012

In 2010, a new state law (HB 3026) was passed prohibiting discrimination in Washington public schools based on race, creed, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, veteran or military status, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. These guidelines constitute OSPI's interpretation of the law and are provided to support school districts' understanding of their obligations under these laws.

Note: These guidelines are currently under revision and may not reflect OSPI's revised rules for chapter 392-190 WAC (effective December 19, 2014), which supersede these guidelines where different.


Discrimination & Protected Classes

Discrimination is the unfair or unequal treatment of a person or a group because they are part of a defined group, known as a protected class. Discrimination can also occur when a school's policy is neutral on its face and is administered in an evenhanded manner but has a disparate impact—i.e., a disproportionate and unjustified effect—on students of a particular protected class.

Protected class refers to a group of people who share common characteristics, and who are protected from discrimination and harassment under federal and state laws. In Washington, discrimination based on these protected classes is prohibited.

  • Sex
  • Race and color
  • Religion and creed
  • National origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity and gender expression
  • Disability and the use of a trained dog guide or service animal
  • Honorably discharged veteran or military status

Nondiscrimination Laws, by Protected Class 

Federal Law
Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (34 C.F.R. Part 110)

Washington State Law
Chapter 49.60 RCW — Washington Law Against Discrimination.

Note: OSPI does not have authority to enforce this law—complaints can be made to the Human Rights Commission.

Federal Law
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (34 C.F.R. Part 104)
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (28 C.F.R. Part 35) Applies to public entities with 50 or more employees.

Washington State Law
Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC — Equal Educational Opportunity Law Chapter 49.60 RCW — Washington Law Against Discrimination

For more information and resources:

Federal Law
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (34 C.F.R. Part 106). Note: Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex and sex-stereotyping, such as discrimination based on a person’s failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.

Washington State Law
Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC — Equal Educational Opportunity Law
Chapter 49.60 RCW — Washington Law Against Discrimination

For more information and resources:

These laws also protect students and families with limited-English proficiency.

Federal Law
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (34 C.F.R. Part 100)
Executive Order 13166
Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000c, et seq.)
Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. §1701, et seq.)
Employment Discrimination: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (34 C.F.R. Part 106)

Washington State Law
Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC — Equal Educational Opportunity Law
Chapter 49.60 RCW | WAC 162-28-040 — Washington Law Against Discrimination

For more information and resources:

Federal Law
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (34 C.F.R. Part 100)
Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000c, et seq.)
Employment Discrimination: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (34 C.F.R. Part 106)

Washington State Law
Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC — Equal Educational Opportunity Law
Chapter 49.60 RCW — Washington Law Against Discrimination

Federal Law
Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000c, et seq.)
Employment: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (34 C.F.R. Part 106)

Washington State Law
Washington State Constitution, Article I, sections 5 and 11
Chapter 28A.600.025 RCW — Students' rights of religious expression — Duty of superintendent of public instruction to inform school districts.
Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC — Equal Educational Opportunity Law
Chapter 49.60 RCW — Washington Law Against Discrimination

For more information and resources:


Federal Law
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (34 C.F.R. Part 106)
Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000c, et seq.)
Employment: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (34 C.F.R. Part 106)

Washington State Law
Chapter 28A.640 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC — Equal Educational Opportunity Law
Chapter 49.60 RCW — Washington Law Against Discrimination

Federal Law
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (34 C.F.R. Part 106). Note: Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex and sex-stereotyping, such as discrimination based on a person’s failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.

Washington State Law
Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC — Equal Educational Opportunity Law
Chapter 49.60 RCW — Washington Law Against Discrimination

Washington State Law
Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC — Equal Educational Opportunity Law
Chapter 49.60 RCW — Washington Law Against Discrimination