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Truancy and Education Program

Education Reengagement Team

  

For information about Education Reengagement Workshops, please contact:

Linda Thomas, Education Reengagement Advocate:
Email or 206-477-1107

For information about court hearings or truancy process, please contact:

Samaneh Alizadeh, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney:
Email or 206-477-4336

 

For information about King County Superior Court Truancy & Education Reengagement Programs, please contact:

 

Melody Edmiston, BECCA Program Truancy Facilitator/Court Coordinator:

206-477-2746

 

Juvenile Court (Youth Services Center- YSC)
1211 East Alder Street
Seattle, WA 98122 

Maleng Regional Justice Center (RJC)
401 Fourth Avenue N
Kent, WA 98032

Truancy Laws are There to Help

The Education Reengagement Team at the King County Prosecutor’s Office (PAO) is focused on reengaging youth and finding innovative ways to enforce truancy laws.

All youth between the ages of 8 and 18 are required to attend school every day. Washington State law, RCW 28A.225.030, often referred to as the Becca Bill, requires that school districts file truancy petitions with the Juvenile Court when students have accumulated seven unexcused absences in one month or ten unexcused absences in an academic year.

In partnership with King County Superior Court, the PAO works with school districts in order to take a preemptive and restorative approach to help keep young people engaged with their education while addressing the barriers to attendance.  Please visit the King County Juvenile Court website to learn for an overview of the Truancy and Education Reengagement process.

Chronic absences can be a result of:

  • Employment
  • Family matters
  • Learning disabilities
  • Feeling behind academically
  • Underlying mental well-being
  • Negative social interactions at school
  • Drug and alcohol experimentation or dependency
  • Lack of connection and relationship with school personnel

 

Our office is deeply committed to utilizing truancy laws as an effective tool for early detection and intervention for opportunity youth. Our objective is to help address the underlying barriers that impact school attendance and academic success. Through education reengagement, attendance workshops, conferences, community mentoring, and alternative education programs, we strive is to keep young people out of the Court process with positive outcomes and increased community participation.

 

 

Why is School Attendance So Important?

The Education Reengagement Team exists because data has shown that there is a strong correlation between high school diplomas and crime prevention. According to the National Dropout Prevention Center,

82% of state inmates in the United States are high school drop outs.

 

Chronic absences occur for all age groups, from elementary school through high school. Regardless of age, attendance is crucial to staying on track academically, and avoiding criminal behavior. Chronic absenteeism has become a significant problem in most districts in King County and we are continually looking for ways for early intervention. 

 

Historically, typical school responses to disruptive behavior and truancy have added to the problem. Students are pushed out of the classroom via suspension or an expulsion 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. Our goal through the reengagement process is to help close the achievement gap while finding innovative ways to reengage youth in our county in a holistic and restorative way.

Intervention Works

Of the approximately 1,200 petitions filed in the 2016 to 2017 school year, approximately 7% of the cases filed actually ended up before a judicial officer. This is a direct result of the meaningful and intentional interventions and services that are provided by the court, school districts, the workshops, pretrial conferences, and community partnerships.

The number of students returning to court for a contempt hearing for violating the court order has steadily decreased over the last 4 years from nearly half to less than 20% in the 2016 to 2017 school year.

 

 

Tools and resources for Parents and District Representatives:

Reconnect to Opportunity (Alternative educational programs, Peer Connectors, and employment opportunities)

http://reopp.org/explore-your-options/

Attendance Works 

http://www.attendanceworks.org/

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OPSI)

http://k12.wa.us/GATE/Truancy/default.aspx

OSPI- Individualize Education Program(IEP) /504s

http://www.k12.wa.us/SpecialEd/Families/IEP.aspx
http://www.k12.wa.us/Equity/Section504.aspx

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) 

https://acestoohigh.com/

Youth Program Directory

http://youthprogramdirectory.org/

  

2017 to 2018 King County Truancy Court Procedure:

Click Here

 

Want to know the status of your truancy case?

Contact the school district in which your child is enrolled and ask for the Truancy Representative or Attendance Secretary. (Find contact information for your school district in this list of school district truancy contacts.) Link the KC Truancy Contacts below:

https://www.kingcounty.gov/~/media/courts/superior-court/docs/becca/truancy/school-district-truancy-contacts-pdf.ashx?la=en

 

Tools and resources for District Representatives:

For Truancy Manual for School District Representatives or for more information about King County’s restorative process for Truancy and Education Reengagement please contact:

Samaneh Alizadeh, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney:
Email or 206-477-4336

 

  • Instructions on how to E-file:

Click Here

https://dja-efsp.kingcounty.gov/EFiling/Logon/Logon.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fEFiling%2fdefault.aspx   

 

A direct link to the truancy court forms:

https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/becca/truancy-forms.aspx

CSEC Awareness Video:

 

 

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