(1) If a child required to attend school under RCW 28A.225.010
fails to attend school without valid justification, the public school in which the child is enrolled shall:
(a) Inform the child's parent by a notice in writing or by telephone whenever the child has failed to attend school after one unexcused absence within any month during the current school year. School officials shall inform the parent of the potential consequences of additional unexcused absences. If the parent is not fluent in English, the school must make reasonable efforts to provide this information in a language in which the parent is fluent;
(b) Schedule a conference or conferences with the parent and child at a time reasonably convenient for all persons included for the purpose of analyzing the causes of the child's absences after three unexcused absences within any month during the current school year. If a regularly scheduled parent-teacher conference day is to take place within thirty days of the third unexcused absence, then the school district may schedule this conference on that day. If the child's parent does not attend the scheduled conference, the conference may be conducted with the student and school official. However the parent shall be notified of the steps to be taken to eliminate or reduce the child's absence; and
(c) At some point after the second and before the seventh unexcused absence, take data-informed steps to eliminate or reduce the child's absences.
(i) In middle school and high school, these steps must include application of the Washington assessment of the risks and needs of students (WARNS) or other assessment by a school district's designee under RCW 28A.225.026
(ii) For any child with an existing individualized education plan or 504 plan, these steps must include the convening of the child's individualized education plan or 504 plan team, including a behavior specialist or mental health specialist where appropriate, to consider the reasons for the absences. If necessary, and if consent from the parent is given, a functional behavior assessment to explore the function of the absence behavior shall be conducted and a detailed behavior plan completed. Time should be allowed for the behavior plan to be initiated and data tracked to determine progress.
(iii) With respect to any child, without an existing individualized education plan or 504 plan, reasonably believed to have a mental or physical disability or impairment, these steps must include informing the child's parent of the right to obtain an appropriate evaluation at no cost to the parent to determine whether the child has a disability or impairment and needs accommodations, related services, or special education services. This includes children with suspected emotional or behavioral disabilities as defined in WAC 392-172A-01035. If the school obtains consent to conduct an evaluation, time should be allowed for the evaluation to be completed, and if the child is found to be eligible for special education services, accommodations, or related services, a plan developed to address the child's needs.
(iv) These steps must include, where appropriate, providing an available approved best practice or research-based intervention, or both, consistent with the WARNS profile or other assessment, if an assessment was applied, adjusting the child's school program or school or course assignment, providing more individualized or remedial instruction, providing appropriate vocational courses or work experience, referring the child to a community engagement board, requiring the child to attend an alternative school or program, or assisting the parent or child to obtain supplementary services that might eliminate or ameliorate the cause or causes for the absence from school.
(2) For purposes of this chapter, an "unexcused absence" means that a child:
(a)(i) Has failed to attend the majority of hours or periods in an average school day or has failed to comply with a more restrictive school district policy; and
(ii) Has failed to meet the school district's policy for excused absences; or
(b) Has failed to comply with alternative learning experience program attendance requirements as described by the superintendent of public instruction.
(3) If a child transfers from one school district to another during the school year, the receiving school or school district shall include the unexcused absences accumulated at the previous school or from the previous school district for purposes of this section, RCW 28A.225.030
, and 28A.225.015
. The sending school district shall provide this information to the receiving school, together with a copy of any previous assessment as required under subsection (1)(c) of this section, history of any best practices or researched-based intervention previously provided to the child by the child's sending school district, and a copy of the most recent truancy information including any online or written acknowledgment by the parent and child, as provided for in RCW 28A.225.005
. All school districts must use the standard choice transfer form for releasing a student to a nonresident school district for the purposes of accessing an alternative learning experience program.