Truancy

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Washington state has a big problem with kids not coming to school with one of the worst rates of chronic absenteeism in the nation, according to a report by the group Attendance Works.

Washington State University hopes to get more schools in the state to use an online assessment tool to figure out the reasons why kids aren’t attending.

Nationally, there’s a push to outlaw incarceration of students for skipping school and other non-criminal behavior and use alternatives.

But some judges are reluctant to give detention up.

School districts in Washington are required to file a truancy petition with juvenile court when a student is chronically absent. Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge David Edwards believes detention is one way to get a kid who’s not following court orders back on track.

'I think you need a tune-up'

The first time a judge sent Marquise-Unique Travon Flynn to juvenile detention he was in fifth grade. He had one goal: not to cry in front of the other kids in the courtroom.

Skipping school is not a crime in Washington state, but it can still land a student behind bars.