Implementation of Washington State’s Compulsory Attendance Law RCW 28A.225
The Compulsory Attendance Law: Parents/guardians are required to have their school-age children enrolled in an educational program and to take steps to insure regular daily school attendance.
The “Becca Bill” provisions of the Compulsory Attendance law apply to students between the ages of 8 and under 18, as well as 6- and 7-year-olds who are enrolled in a public school program, unless they:
- Are incapable of attending school due to medical or mental reasons.
- Are at least 16-years old and are regularly employed, and have the permission of a parent/guardian to work in lieu of attending school.
- Have met the educational requirements (GED, or other means found acceptable to the Superintendent).
Children found to be in violation of the Compulsory Attendance law may be subject to a truancy petition filed with the Superior Court. The Court may order a child to attend school, and if the child willfully violates the Court’s order, the Court may take whatever actions necessary to insure compliance and regular school attendance. These actions may include community service or detention in a juvenile detention facility.
Parents or guardians who fail to comply with the Compulsory Attendance law may also be subject to a truancy petition filed with Superior Court. Parents may be fined up to $25.00 per day for each day of their child’s unexcused absences. Additional sanctions imposed by the Court might include community service for the parent or guardian of the child.
WSSB Attendance and Truancy Policy
All students between the ages of 8 through 18 years are required by Washington state law to attend school regularly. If a student ages 6-7 is enrolled, the child is required to attend the full school year. In order to make certain that all students are in compliance, WSSB will keep attendance records.
It is the duty of the parent or guardian to provide the school an excuse for any absence or late arrival either through a note, personal contact or phone call. All such correspondence is to be directed to the school office. Any absence not properly explained within three days of the student returning to school will not be excused without approval from an administrator.
Absences of six days or more due to illness or other health conditions require a note from a doctor or appropriate medical provider.
Valid reasons for an excused absence include:
- Illness/ health conditions.
- Family emergencies.
- Participation in school-approved activities.
- Parent-approved activities.
- Disciplinary action or short-term suspensions.
- Observance of religious holidays.
- Other absences as permitted by law.
- All other absences will be considered unexcused and may result in disciplinary action and affect a student's grades.
All other absences are considered unexcused, including absences caused by the student or parent oversleeping, student missing the bus, transportation problems, student needed for babysitting, student job requirements, etc.
On the first unexcused absence in any month, the school will contact a parent by phone or in writing of the student's absence and of potential consequences for further unexcused absences.
On the second unexcused absence in any month, a conference will be scheduled with parents or guardians and the student to discuss the absences. After five unexcused absences, an attendance agreement is required to be signed.
If the student reaches seven unexcused absences in any month, or 10 unexcused absences in the current school year, the district is required to file a petition in juvenile court alleging a violation of Washington State's mandatory attendance law.
Students will not be allowed to make up missed assignments if the absence is unexcused. They will receive a no credit grade for that day.
Excessive absences severely impact a student’s progress in coursework and IEPs. It is the position of WSSB that all students shall be punctual and regular in their attendance.
Grades may be affected by excessive tardiness or absenteeism. Attendance will be one criteria for determining a student’s grade. Students with 15 or more absences (excused or unexcused) in a semester will not receive credit for the coursework in that semester.
Upon reaching a total of 10 absences within a semester, a meeting will be scheduled to discuss the absences and to review the placement at WSSB. An attendance plan will be developed with the student, parent, advocate and administrator or designee.
Upon reaching a total of 15 absences within a semester, a meeting will be scheduled to change the placement of the student back to their local district.
Parents or guardians must contact the school principal to gain approval for a pre-arranged absence. Request for pre-arranged absences must be received three days prior to the absence. It is the responsibility of the student to collect and complete all assignments that will be given during the time of absence.
Legal Reference: RCW 28A.225.005-035