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Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Policy Changes to Reduce Excessive Absenteeism in Public K–12 Schools

The 2016 Washington State Legislature changed existing statute and added new provisions to decrease absenteeism and truancy in public K-12 schools, including the following:
  • All school districts (except very small districts) and their corresponding juvenile courts must establish community truancy boards by the 2017-18 school year;
  • Courts must implement an initial stay of truancy petitions and refer children and families to community truancy boards for assessment and intervention; and
  • In cases where detention is deemed necessary, the law establishes a preference for placement in secure crisis residential centers or HOPE centers (as opposed to juvenile detention facilities).
The same bill directs WSIPP to evaluate the impacts of this act. A preliminary report on study methods and potential data gaps was published in December 2017, and the final report will be published by January 1, 2021.
Madeline Barch, (360) 664-9070 View Legislation