Truancy Laws are There to Help
The Truancy Intervention Team at the King County Prosecutor’s Office is focused on education re-engagement and innovative ways to enforce truancy laws and the Becca Bill. Please visit the King County Juvenile Court website to learn more about truancy, and an overview of the court process.
We take a preemptive approach to keep young people in school. Chronic absences can be a result of:
underlying mental well-being,
drug and alcohol experimentation or dependency,
- negative social interactions at school.
Our office is deeply committed to utilizing truancy laws as an effective tool for early detection and intervention of children at risk. Through education re-engagement, attendance workshops, and community mentoring programs, our goal is to keep young people out of the court process with positive outcomes and increased community participation.
Why is School Attendance So Important?
The Intervention Team exists because there is a strong correlation between high school diplomas and crime prevention.
75% of state inmates do not have a high school diploma.
Chronic absences occur for all youth age groups, from elementary school through high school. Regardless of age, attendance is crucial to staying on track academically, and avoiding criminal behavior.
Typical school response to disruptive behavior and truancy can add to the problem. Students are pushed out of the classroom via suspension or expulsions which often leads to a gap in academic skill. Falling behind adds to hopelessness, alienation from peers, and subsequent drop out. Criminal activity can soon follow.
Of the approximately 1000 - 1300 petitions filed each year, approximately 75% of the students, who are invited to and attend PAO Attendance Workshops, do not end up in court for truancy.
The number of students returning to court for violating the court order have steadily decreased over the last 4 years from nearly half to less than 20% last year.
For resources, please visit the King County Juvenile Court Information website.
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