The Ombudsperson Office was created to support the resolution of conflicts, complaints, and concerns through informal processes that embody the district’s commitment to equity, restorative practices, procedural fairness and Excellence for Everyone.
The Ombudsperson Office is located within the Department of Family & Community Engagement and serves as a resource to students, families, SPS staff and community stakeholders.
If you prefer to work with a community-based ombudsperson, or where the district Ombudsperson has a conflict of interest, we will connect you with a trained community member to provide this service.
What kinds of things does the Ombudsperson do?
- Serves as a resource to clarify and navigate district policies and procedures;
- Facilitates restorative processes to resolve conflicts and complaints;
- Provides tools and support for restorative practices district-wide;
- As requested by administrators, provides support in resolving specific student conflicts, prior to discipline decisions;
- Works with Student Services to evaluate restorative alternatives to long-term suspensions and expulsions; and
- At a family’s request, can attend reengagement meetings to support procedural fairness and a restorative re-entry to school.
The Ombudsperson does not:
- Provide legal advice or representation;
- Advocate on behalf of any individual or organization; or
- Conduct formal investigations or make findings.
- Neutrality: The Ombudsperson supports conflict resolution by serving as a neutral facilitator.
- Confidentiality: The Ombudsperson holds all communications with those seeking support in confidence and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission or summoned to do so.
- Informality: The Ombudsperson operates outside of the formal processes for complaints to resolve issues at the lowest level using restorative interventions.
⇒ Contact Office of Family & Community Engagement at 509-354-5933.
The Ombudsperson Office will review the information you provide and follow up with you to determine next steps that meet your needs. Possible steps include:
- Referring your question or concern to the appropriate person or department;
- providing resources and information;
- working with you to resolve your concern;
- facilitating a conflict resolution process; or
- connecting you with a community-based ombudsperson (at your request or due to a conflict of interest).