Washington State Truancy Law
According to the Seattle Times, "On a Sunday afternoon [in 1993], a man picked up Rebecca [Becca] Hedman on a street corner in Spokane. He paid her $50 for sex. The 13-year-old runaway didn't satisfy the 35-year-old man. She complained that it hurt. The man became enraged and demanded a refund. When she resisted, he grabbed a baseball bat and hit her six times in the back of the head.Police found her body dumped on the embankment of the Spokane River."
The Washington State Truancy law RCW 28A.225 – Washington State Compulsory School Attendance and Admission Law was created by Governor Mike Lowry and Attorney General Christine Gregoire in reaction to Becca's story and others like it. The purpose of the bill is to "empower parents to help their children when they have run away or when their child’s substance abuse or mental health problems place them in serious danger of harming themselves or others." There are no guarantees that the "Becca Bill" would have saved Becca's life. But, in theory, it would have helped her parents keep better track of their daughter and allowed them tools to intervene on their daughter's behalf. Becca suffered from many issues including sexual abuse that started at a young age and foster care, eventually Becca was adopted by a caring couple. Part of the Becca Bill is stict guidelines for schools to report absences to notify parents and courts that students are not at school.
Washington schools do their part in notifying parents and courts, if needed, to help identify and intervene with students that could be facing problems like Becca was. Studies have shown that teens with a connection to school are more likely to stay on a successful path throughout life. Truancy petitions are filed by the school district. School officials are mandated to file a truancy petition if a youth has seven unexcused absences in a month or 10 unexcused in one year. These petitions require the youth to attend school every day, every period, on time, and can also hold the parent responsible for chronic truancy.
Understanding The Becca Law
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction-Suggestions for Parents & Guardians when dealing with truancy proceedings.
Washington Laws Regarding Truancy