Welcome to the Prosecutor's Office Truancy Website
Our office is deeply committed to enforcing our state’s truancy laws. Not only do these laws help keep kids in school, they are also an effective tool for early detection and intervention of children at risk.
Many young people have returned to schools because schools, courts, and community volunteers are intervening in truancy prevention efforts. Although we will never know how many of these children would have entered the criminal justice system, we do know that every child returned to school has a better chance to travel a different path.
Click this link to read about the new approach our office is taking to keep kids in school.
An Overview of our State Truancy Laws
The Becca Bill
Washington's truancy law, often termed the "Becca Bill," is intended to curb school truancy before it becomes habitual. The law requires many things of schools, but only requires one thing of students: attend school. If a student does not attend school, the law requires the school district to take action.
One or Two Unexcused Absences
After a single unexcused absence, the school is required to contact parents, which is generally done by phone or letter. After a second unexcused absence, the school is required to schedule a conference with the parent and student to discuss solutions to the truancy.
Five Unexcused Absences
If a student accumulates five unexcused absences in a month, the school may take more intense action to end the truancy. The school may file a petition with the King County Superior Court; enter into a written truancy agreement with the family; refer the family to a "community truancy board" if one exists; or take other reasonable action. A community truancy board is comprised of citizen volunteers who help to resolve individual truancy cases.
Seven and Ten Unexcused Absences
Court action is required when a student accumulates seven absences in a month or ten in a year. The truancy law requires that school districts file a petition in Superior Court against the student, parent, or both. After a petition is filed, several things may happen with a student case. Depending on the circumstances of each individual case, a student's petition may not be immediately heard in juvenile court.
At-Risk Youth and Child in Need of Services
For assistance in filing an At-Risk Youth or Child in Need of Services Petition, please contact the King County Superior Court Information Line at:
If you have any questions relating to truancy, please contact Stephanie Sato, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, either by email or telephone: 206-477-1078.