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Attendance Law

Attendance Law (Becca's Law) 
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction 
Olympia, Washington

OVERVIEW:
Washington State's "Becca" Truancy Regulations & Policies 

In brief, Becca truancy laws require schools to:

  • Inform parents in writing or by phone after one unexcused absence in one month
  • Schedule a parent conference after two unexcused absences in one month
  • Enter into a formal agreement with the student and parent regarding attendance; or, referral to a Community Truancy Board; or, file a truancy petition, if a student has five unexcused absences in a month
  • File a truancy petition with the juvenile court if a student has seven unexcused absences in a month, or ten unexcused absences in a year
  • File a contempt motion if a student is not in compliance with a court order resulting from a truancy petition


Becca truancy laws also require the juvenile court to:

  • Process petitions filed by school districts
  • Schedule hearings alleging truancy, and notify parents and student of the hearing, their options and rights, and may require their attendance
  • Grant petitions and assume jurisdiction for any period of time deemed necessary if the facts (by a preponderance of evidence) support the petition
  • The court may order attendance at current school, alternative school, another public school, a skill center, drop-out prevention program, a private school or education center, referral to a Community Truancy Board, or completion of a drug assessment test
  • Schedule hearings alleging non-compliance with court orders, requiring access to legal representation for the student. Parents may also request legal representation
  • The court may order a student to report to county detention, impose alternatives to detention, or order parents to perform community service or pay a fine of up to $25 per day for each unexcused absence, if the court rules that a student or parent violated the court order

 

Attendance Policy
Students are expected to attend school 180 days of the year unless they have an excused absence from a parent or guardian.

Absences due to illness or a health condition; a religious observance, when requested by a student’s parent(s); school-approved activities; family emergencies; and, as required by law, disciplinary actions or short-term suspension will be excused.

The parent or school authority responsible for the absence will verify an unexcused absence. A student can be suspended or expelled for habitual truancy or unexcused absences. For further reference contact your building principal for a copy of Board Policy 3122, Excused and Unexcused Absence.