Independence for blind and visually impaired children.
The mission of WSSB is to provide specialized 24‑hour quality educational services to visually impaired youths.
The school serves as a statewide demonstration and resource center providing direct and indirect services to students both on campus and in the children’s local communities. Services are provided to families, educators, and others interested in assisting visually impaired youths to become independent contributing citizens.
WSSB values a safe learning environment and maintains a drug, tobacco, alcohol, and weapons free campus. (RCW 9.41.280, RCW 28A.210.310, RCW 66.44.100, RCW 69.50.435)
Parents are required to complete all registration materials before their child enters WSSB and on an annual basis. These include travel and various permission forms. The permission forms are used as guidelines as circumstances require. Please be aware that your child’s medical history, your family physician’s name, address, and phone number, any recurrent or chronic medical problems, any special diets or allergies, and current immunizations record must be on file each year. To ensure the best medical care for your child, we must have this information.
Communication is key to good relations between home and school; therefore, WSSB staff will make frequent calls to students’ homes. It is imperative that parents inform the school of any change in general information (address, telephone number, e-mail, student permissions, etc.). To notify the school of changes, call 360-947-3309.
Student files are maintained in the Irwin building. The custodian of the files may release information from the records only with written consent of parent, guardian or adult student; upon an order of a court; or as required by the Superintendent, Director of On-Campus Programs, Director of Transition Services, or their designee. Requests for records should be addressed to: School Secretary, WSSB, 2214 East 13th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661.
Photographs are often valuable in sharing information with parents, governing boards, officials, and the general public. They can be used to inform others of available services as well as to help teachers plan instruction or evaluate progress. Because they can be used so effectively to provide information, photographs are important to our program. We request permission to photograph your child with our assurance that the photographs will be used only for official school purposes. A photograph/media release permission form is included in the registration packet. Your signature on this form will permit us to photograph your child and publish or otherwise use the photographs, and to release the photographs to interested parties when in the best interest of the school and/or your child. An example of this might be press coverage of the annual track meet, etc.
DIRECTORY INFORMATION DISCLOSURE
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), a federal law, requires that the Washington State School for the Blind (“District”), with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records.
However, the District may disclose designated “directory information” about your child without your written consent UNLESS you have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures. The District has designated the following information as “directory information”:
- Student’s name
- Participation in recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Degrees, honors, and awards received
- Dates of enrollment
- Grade level
- Photographs and videotape of students participating in District and/or school events
The primary purpose of directory information is to allow your child’s school to include this information about your child in school publications. Examples of such uses include: a program showing your student’s role in a drama production, yearbook, honor roll or other recognition list, graduation programs, and sports activity sheets and rosters, newsletters, school and District websites or social media sites, newspaper articles, as well as television and radio broadcasts.
In addition, directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can be released to outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks.
Also, two federal laws require school districts to provide military recruiters and institutions of higher education, upon request, with three directory information categories – high school students’ names, addresses, and telephone listings – unless parents have advised the school that they do not want their child’s information disclosed without prior written consent.
If you do NOT want The Washington State School for the Blind to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must either 1) notify your child’s school in writing or 2) complete an opt-out form located at the student’s school by the 10th day of the school year. Only a parent/legal guardian or eligible student (18 years of age or older) can choose not to have directory information released.
Please note that you must notify your school EACH year if you do NOT want directory information released. You cannot choose what student directory information to release. However, you can specifically choose to exclude military recruiters and institutions of higher education from receiving a student’s directory information.
Personal pets of resident/day students are not permitted on campus as some students have allergies, fears, etc. regarding animals. Animals may be permitted on campus with prior approval if the animals are part of a scheduled activity or program. It is the responsibility of the staff supervising such an activity or program to ensure sanitary conditions of the areas where animals are kept and to make a judgment on need for veterinary examinations. Prior approval of animals on campus rests with the Director of On-Campus Programs or Director of Transition Services. Service animals are excluded from this policy.
All visitors must obtain a visitors pass from the office or cottage. WSSB staff acknowledge it is desirable for parents and relatives to be familiar with the total education program and instructional practices in the school. It further recognizes that frequent and unannounced interruptions to the classroom or cottage can be detrimental to the educational process. To provide parents the opportunity to visit classrooms and cottages with the least interruption to the teaching process, the following guidelines have been established:
- Visitors to the school, cottage and/or classroom shall obtain the approval of the building administrator or designee, and if the visit is to a classroom, the time will be arranged only after the building administrator, or designee, has conferred with the staff responsible.
- A conference with the teacher or cottage staff will need to be prearranged.
- Young visitors will be admitted to classrooms only: (1) when satisfactory arrangements are made with the teacher, (2) when (in the case of preschool youngsters) they are accompanied by an adult who will assume responsibility for the young visitor.
Any on or off‑campus selling projects by individual students or classes must be approved in advance.
The purpose of school is the opportunity for students to receive the best education as possible. It is the student’s primary responsibility to receive an education, within an atmosphere that makes learning and teaching possible. The success of the educational process is based on a positive, safe atmosphere that promotes learning. Disciplinary consequences are intended to aide students in learning greater responsibility, respect, cooperation and to help enhance their education potential.
Staff have the initial responsibility for supporting appropriate behavior and handing minor discipline issues. Staff may contact parents if issues persist and further disciplinary action may be recommended after a referral to a school administrator.
It is the goal of the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) to provide education in a safe, secure, healthy, and mutually respectful teaching and learning environment in which all students are treated with dignity and respect. Additionally, all students at WSSB will remain free from the unreasonable use of force. Reasonable force, isolation, or restrain may be used in a situation if it is necessary to prevent a student from harming other students, staff, themselves, or school property. Parents and guardians will be notified verbally within 24 hours and by written notification within 5 business days after the use of restraint or isolation.
The Washington State School for the Blind does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employee(s) has been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination:
Sean McCormick, email@example.com, 2214 E. 13th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661, 360-947-3308
You can report discrimination and discriminatory harassment to any school staff member or to the district’s Civil Rights Coordinator, listed above. You also have the right to file a complaint (see below). For a copy of WSSB’s nondiscrimination policy and procedure, contact the school office or view it online here: www.wssb.wa.gov.
Students and staff are protected against sexual harassment by anyone in any school program or activity, including on the school campus, on the school bus, or off-campus during a school-sponsored activity.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior or communication that is sexual in nature when:
- A student or employee is led to believe that he or she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct or communications in order to gain something in return, such as a grade, a promotion, a place on a sports team, or any educational or employment decision, or
- The conduct substantially interferes with a student’s educational performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile educational or employment environment.
Examples of Sexual Harassment:
- Pressuring a person for sexual favors
- Unwelcome touching of a sexual nature
- Writing graffiti of a sexual nature
- Distributing sexually explicit texts, e-mails, or pictures
- Making sexual jokes, rumors, or suggestive remarks
- Physical violence, including rape and sexual assault
You can report sexual harassment to any school staff member or to the district’s Title IX Officer, who is listed above. You also have the right to file a complaint (see below). For a copy of WSSB’s sexual harassment policy and procedure, contact the school office, or view it online here: www.wssb.wa.gov.
COMPLAINT OPTIONS: DISCRIMINATION AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT
If you believe that you or your child have experienced unlawful discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or sexual harassment at school, you have the right to file a complaint.
Before filing a complaint, you can discuss your concerns with the principal. This is often the fastest way to revolve your concerns.
Complaint to the School District
Step 1. Write Our Your Complaint
In most cases, complaints must be filed within one year from the date of the incident or conduct that is the subject of the complaint. A complaint must be in writing. Be sure to describe the conduct or incident, explain why you believe discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or sexual harassment has taken place, and describe what actions you believe the district should take to resolve the problem. Send your written complaint—by mail, fax, email, or hand delivery—to the district superintendent or civil rights compliance coordinator.
Step 2: School District Investigates Your Complaint
Once the district receives your written complaint, the coordinator will give you a copy of the complaint procedure and make sure a prompt and thorough investigation takes place. The superintendent or designee will respond to you in writing within 30 calendar days—unless you agree on a different time period. If your complaint involves exceptional circumstances that demand a lengthier investigation, the district will notify you in writing to explain why staff need a time extension and the new date for their written response.
Step 3: School District Responds to Your Complaint
In its written response, the district will include a summary of the results of the investigation, a determination of whether or not the district failed to comply with civil rights laws, notification that you can appeal this determination, and any measures necessary to bring the district into compliance with civil rights laws. Corrective measures will be put into effect within 30 calendar days after this written response—unless you agree to a different time period.
Appeal to the School District
If you disagree with the school district’s decision, you may appeal to the school district’s board of directors. You must file a notice of appeal in writing to the secretary of the school board within 10 calendar days after you received the school district’s response to your complaint. The school board will schedule a hearing within 20 calendar days after they received your appeal, unless you agree on a different timeline. The school board will send you a written decision within 30 calendar days after the district received your notice of appeal. The school board’s decision will include information about how to file a complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
[Note: The appeal procedure above is based on the Washington State School Directors Association’s (WSSDA) Sample Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment Procedures (3210P and 3205P). WAC 392-190-070 requires each school district to provide an option to appeal the district’s decision to a party or board that was not involved in the initial complaint or investigation. If your school district has adopted a different appeal procedure, please insert it here.]
Complaint to OSPI
If you do not agree with the school district’s appeal decision, state law provides the option to file a formal complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). This is a separate complaint process that can take place if one of these two conditions has occurred: (1) you have completed the district’s complaint and appeal process, or (2) the district has not followed the complaint and appeal process correctly.
You have 20 calendar days to file a complaint to OSPI from the day you received the decision on your appeal. You can send your written complaint to the Equity and Civil Rights Office at OSPI:
Email: Equity@k12.wa.us ǀ Fax: 360-664-2967
Mail or hand deliver: PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA 98504-7200
For more information, visit www.k12.wa.us/Equity/Complaints.aspx, or contact OSPI’s Equity and Civil Rights Office at 360-725-6162/TTY: 360-664-3631 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Discrimination Complaint Options
Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
206-607-1600 ǀ TDD: 1-800-877-8339 ǀ OCR.Seattle@ed.gov ǀ www.ed.gov/ocr
Washington State Human Rights Commission
1-800-233-3247 ǀ TTY: 1-800-300-7525 ǀ www.hum.wa.gov
Students have the right to:
- Expect courtesy, fairness, and respect from members of the school staff and from other students.
- Attend class and pursue their education under competent instructors.
- Privacy of their personal possessions unless there is reason to believe that the student possesses or is concealing materials prohibited by law or school regulation.
- Expect and have available to them clear and understandable rules of student conduct.
- Form and respectfully express their opinions on issues orally, in writing, or other modes of communication without jeopardizing their relations with staff.
- Appropriate counseling for personal and educational problems. Access to consultation within a reasonable period of time should be assured.
- Be protected by legal provisions which prohibit the release of personal information to other than legally authorized persons with the consent of the parent, guardian, or eligible students.
STUDENT RIGHTS IN REGARD TO SEARCH
The physical facilities of WSSB are temporarily assigned to students for use by them, but are not and do not become the property of the students. Contents in desks and rooms assigned to students are subject to inspection at any time for cleanliness, missing property, contraband, and evidence of vandalism.
Inspection and search can be conducted for the location and discovery of items such as non‑prescription drugs, apparatus for the administration of controlled substances, alcoholic beverages, pornographic materials, fireworks, tobacco, weapons, explosives, poisons, and stolen property. Such items should not be brought on campus under any circumstances, and students who bring such items on campus may be subject to disciplinary action.
When a search focuses on a particular student because of a suspected rule violation, school officials will, if circumstances permit, record reasons for believing a search is justified before making the search. If possible, student consent will be obtained, and the student will be present when the search is made. In the absence of the student, a witness will be present with the school official.
If a major reason for a search is to seek evidence of a criminal violation, school officials will report the information to law enforcement and allow them to conduct the search subject to standards applicable to police searches. If the police seek permission from school officials to search a student, their property, or their locker to obtain evidence for criminal prosecution, school officials will require the police to obtain a search warrant unless the search falls within one of the exceptions of the Fourth Amendment’s search warrant requirements.
The above safeguards will be observed unless in exceptional cases they interfere with school officials’ duty to maintain order and discipline in the school and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the students and staff.
USING SCHOOL EQUIPMENT AT HOME
Students may wish to use special equipment, books, and/or musical instruments at their homes on major vacations or during summer months. School items of this nature may be checked out by students and/or parents by signing an Equipment, Instrument, and Book Agreement (form can be obtained from the school secretary). A deposit may be charged. If items are lost or damaged, the cost of replacement or repair will be charged to the individual borrowing the item.