Civil Rights

What are Civil Rights?
Civil rights are personal rights guaranteed and protected by the U.S. Constitution, federal laws enacted by the U.S. Congress and state laws enacted by our state legislature.

What is Discrimination?
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.

What is a Protected Class?
A protected class is a group of people who share common characteristics and are protected from discrimination and harassment under federal and state laws. Protected classes defined by Washington State Law include:

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

More information about civil rights requirements for Washington public schools is available in OSPI’s guidelines: Prohibiting Discrimination in Washington Public Schools.

To learn more about which state and federal civil rights laws prohibit discrimination in public schools, access the following link:

Equity and Civil Rights Resources Available to Families: 
At the district level, we listen and respond to students and  needs in the area of civil rights and nondiscrimination laws. If you would like additional support, please consider those services offered at the state level. 

OSPI’s services includes guidance on state and federal civil rights and nondiscrimination laws.

OSPI encourages local resolution to any allegations of discrimination and will provide information and technical assistance for student and parent understanding of local school district policies and procedures related to equal opportunity. Consider the following resources:

OSPI will direct students and their families to the appropriate resource for swift and positive resolution of allegations of discrimination within our local public schools.

OSPI does not provide legal services or conduct investigations. 

For more information about Equity & Civil Rights:

Para más información sobre Equidad y Derechos Civiles:

(360) 725-6162

Boy using crayon on a piece of paper
Two girl soccer players
Two girls in a classroom