We resolve complaints and prevent problems
As families and educators work together to meet their students' educational needs, disputes, problems, and disagreements sometimes occur. Education Ombudsmen resolve complaints from parents against school districts from an impartial perspective, focusing on the best interest and academic needs of the student involved.
In the process of resolving a complaint, Ombudsmen advocate for fairness, help parents and schools examine their roles and responsibilities, ensure that laws and policies are followed, and work to prevent similar problems in the future.
OEO is staffed by a group of education professionals who are dedicated to the academic success of Washington students. We have extensive expertise in K-12 public education, mediation and conflict resolution, education law, cultural competence, and school-family partnerships.
Ombudsmen are trained problem solvers who bring families and educators together to resolve problems that affect student learning.
Ombudsmen assist families and educators to collaborate in finding solutions that serve the best interests of the student and provide support for resolving conflict before it escalates, thus conserving resources for what matters most: student learning.
OEO staff members are dedicated to excellence in professional practice and to maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct. OEO is aligned with the United States Ombuds Association's standards for public sector ombudsmen, which are:
OEO is an impartial entity, independent of the public education system. OEO reports its findings and makes recommendations based on review of data and public policy.
- Neutral Perspective
OEO does not allow personal views or beliefs about subject matter or the parties involved to affect decisions on casework or outcomes.
- Impartial process
OEO receives and reviews each concern in an objective and fair manner. OEO ombudsmen treat all parties without favor or prejudice, and help disputing parties focus on the academic success of the student involved.
OEO treats all matters, including the identities of students, parents/legal guardians, school officials and individuals from whom information is acquired, as private and confidential.
- Privileged communication
All communications by OEO staff, if reasonably related to OEO's duties and responsibilities and made in good faith, are privileged, as provided for by RCW 43.06B.040:
"The education ombuds shall treat all matters, including the identity of students, complainants, and individuals from whom information is acquired, as confidential, except as necessary to enable the education ombuds to perform the duties of the office. Upon receipt of information that by law is confidential or privileged, the ombuds shall maintain the confidentiality of such information and shall not further disclose or disseminate the information except as provided by applicable state or federal law."