||Guided by State law the District follows a set of interventions
created to support students and families.
One (1) or Two (2) Unexcused Absences
After a single unexcused absence, the school will 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 (5) Unexcused Absences
If a student accumulates five unexcused absences in a month, the school may take more intense absences to end the truancy. The school may file a petition with the Cowlitz Courty Court, enter into a written truancy agreement with the family, or reference the family to a Truancy Project,.
Seven (7) and Ten (10) 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.
The first hearing in any truancy action is the “preliminary hearing.” At the preliminary hearing, the court will hear the evidence from the school district, the parents and student to determine whether the truancy allegation is more likely than not true. If true, the court will enter a written order directing the student to go to school.
If the student successfully obeys the court order and goes to school without any unexcused absences, most likely they will not be called back to court for any additional hearings.
Students and parents who willfully violate the court order and continue to have unexcused absences will be summoned back to court for a “contempt hearing.” When a student or parent is held in contempt, the court may impose coercive sanctions to correct the student’s attendance issues. The court may order a student to write a report, do community service, or spend time in juvenile detention. The court may require a parent to do community service or even be issued fines for $25 for each day of their child’s truancy. Children are entitled to legal counsel once they face the threat of confinement.