How to File a Complaint

Contact Information

We encourage parents and public schools to work together to resolve concerns or disagreements about a school’s program or a student’s education. However, depending on the topic of a complaint, formal complaint options are available under different state and federal laws. These processes are outlined on the pages below.

Each school district and charter school also have local policies for addressing disagreements or complaints related to student discipline, bullying, and other concerns. Please contact your local school district or charter school for more information.

OSPI is authorized to formally investigate complaints only in limited circumstances. Most complaints must first be filed with your local school district or charter school.

Special Education Complaints

Use if you believe that a public school has failed to provide a service identified in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), has denied your student a free appropriate public education or FAPE, or has not met any other state or federal requirement related to special education.

Complaints About Discrimination

Use if you believe a student has experienced discrimination or discriminatory harassment. In Washington public schools, discrimination is prohibited on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, honorably discharged veteran or military status, disability, and the use of a trained dog guide or service animal.

USDA Program Discrimination Complaints

Use if you believe a school district or OSPI has engaged in discrimination in any program or activity conducted or funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Complaints against Teachers/Certificated Educators

Use if you believe that a certificated employee has committed an act of unprofessional conduct or lacks good moral character or personal fitness.

Federal Programs Citizen Complaints

Use if you believe that a school district or OSPI has violated a state or federal law or regulations that applies to a federal program under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Student Transfer Appeals

Use for school district denials of nonresident student transfers, also referred to as out-of-district transfers, interdistrict transfers, choice transfers, variances, waivers, or school choice.