Attendance mandatory — Six or seven year olds — Unexcused absences — Petition.
(1) If a parent enrolls a child who is six or seven years of age in a public school, the child is required to attend and that parent has the responsibility to ensure the child attends for the full time that school is in session. An exception shall be made to this requirement for children whose parents formally remove them from enrollment if the child is less than eight years old and a petition has not been filed against the parent under subsection (3) of this section. The requirement to attend school under this subsection does not apply to a child enrolled in a public school part-time for the purpose of receiving ancillary services. A child required to attend school under this subsection may be temporarily excused upon the request of his or her parent for purposes agreed upon by the school district and parent.
(2) If a six or seven year old child is required to attend public school under subsection (1) of this section and that child has unexcused absences, the public school in which the child is enrolled shall:
(a) Inform the child's custodial parent, parents, or guardian 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;
(b) Request a conference or conferences with the custodial parent, parents, or guardian and child at a time reasonably convenient for all persons included for the purpose of analyzing the causes of the child's absences after two 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 second unexcused absence, then the school district may schedule this conference on that day; and
(c) Take steps to eliminate or reduce the child's absences. These steps shall include, where appropriate, adjusting the child's school program or school or course assignment, providing more individualized or remedial instruction, offering assistance in enrolling the child in available alternative schools or programs, or assisting the parent or child to obtain supplementary services that may help eliminate or ameliorate the cause or causes for the absence from school.
(3) If a child required to attend public school under subsection (1) of this section has seven unexcused absences in a month or ten unexcused absences in a school year, the school district shall file a petition for civil action as provided in RCW 28A.225.035 against the parent of the child.
(4) This section does not require a six or seven year old child to enroll in a public or private school or to receive home-based instruction. This section only applies to six or seven year old children whose parents enroll them full time in public school and do not formally remove them from enrollment as provided in subsection (1) of this section.
[1999 c 319 § 6.]