Law not helping students stay

I have been an educator for over 30 years and see dedicated staffs trying to keep kids coming to school when they teeter on dropping out. When they finally stop coming it is usually due to addictions, lack of parental support, and/or poverty. Schools feel defeated with no recourse since the changes in the interpretations of the truancy laws, otherwise known as the BECCA Bill.

When the bill first came into effect we were able to hold kids accountable for their absences and address their efforts to avoid their responsibilities. It is my belief that the intention of the law was to keep kids, like the Rebecca it was named after, stay safe and in school.

After several interventions for truancy provided by the school, the current interpretation by the judges in Snohomish County require personal delivery to both the student and their parents in order to have them face the next step of court intervention. When kids stop coming and parents ignore your attempts, our hands are tied and kids can “get away” with dropping out. We used to see more kids returning to schoolor finishing their GED with the leverage of the courts; now they see how to avoid it all.

No good can come out of kids giving up on their education, particularly in this economy. They are not “getting away” with anything.

June Shirey