Washington State Law RCW 28A.225.010 requires, with some exceptions, that all children between the ages of 8 and 18 are required to attend school every day when school is in session. Six and seven year olds who are enrolled in school are required to attend every day (RCW 28A.225.015). If a child who is required to attend is absent from school and the absence is not verified by a parent or guardian and/or the reason for the absence does not meet the definition under Washington State Law (Chapter 392-401 WAC) or school district policy, that absences is considered “unexcused”. Washington State Law further requires that school districts take steps to eliminate or reduce unexcused absences from school, and file truancy petitions with the Juvenile Court when students have accumulated seven unexcused absences in one month or not later than fifteen unexcused absences in an academic year. Superior Court supports many responses to truancy including providing resource and referral assistance for parents, students, and schools to address barriers to attendance, technical assistance to schools and school districts in King County to meet duties under the law, facilitating the King County Community Attendance Support Team (CAST), and a formal truancy court process.
If the actions taken by a school district under RCW 28A.225.020 do not substantially reduce or eliminate a students unexcused absence from school, then after the 7th unexcused absence in a month and not later than the 15th unexcused absence during a school year, the district must file a truancy petition. A Truancy petition must be electronically filed through the King County Superior Court E-file system. The case is assigned a “designation” of either KNT for the south end of the county including Auburn, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, Tahoma and Tukwila, or SEA for the east and northern end of the county including Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Northshore, Riverview, Seattle, Shoreline, Skykomish, Snoqualmie Valley, and Vashon.
A case number is automatically assigned at the time of filing, and a year-long case schedule is automatically generated with an expiration date one year from the time of filing.
Once a truancy petition is filed, the student and family may receive notice of a school/district community engagement board, an Unleash the Brilliance Education Reengagement Workshop, a Community Attendance Support Team Meeting, or other interventions.
If continued interventions are unsuccessful in reducing or eliminating further unexcused absences after a truancy has been filed, the Court may issue an order for the school district, student, and/or parent to appear for a Pretrial Conference. If no agreement can be reached on a plan to address barriers to attendance, the Court may order a Preliminary Truancy Hearing. At the Preliminary Hearing, the Court may take jurisdiction over the matter.
Contact the school district in which your child is enrolled and ask for the Truancy or Attendance Secretary. (Find contact information for your school district in this list of school district truancy contacts.)
Truancy program facilitators:
Additional information and resources:
- RCW 28A.225
- Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: Attendance, Chronic Absenteeism, and Truancy
- King County School District Attendance Liaison Contacts
- King County Becca Kick Off Materials 2022
Court forms for truancy matters are available HERE.