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SBE Adopts Resolution in Support of Chronic Absenteeism and Trauma Supports

Release Date: 

September 26, 2019

Dear partners in education, 
Autymn Wilde
I am the Eastern Washington Student Member on the Washington State Board of Education (SBE). In October of 2018, at a leadership conference I experienced a spontaneous pneumothorax, lung collapse. Since then, I have had two more pneumothorax’s, three chest tubes, and a wedge resection of the lung. I was very traumatized by this experience, however being a self-advocate, I was in constant contact with my teachers and counselor. Unfortunately, I received limited supports and had a difficult time re-assimilating and catching up with all my missing school work. The lack of supports I received drove me to reach out to peers and determine if this was a common experience amongst students. I surveyed 160 students across the state and presented the data to the SBE in July 2019.

I drafted the resolution below, which the Board adopted on September 12, 2019, for every single child who experiences chronic absenteeism due to unavoidable circumstances and/or trauma, so that they have a structured, transparent, and accommodating experience once they return to school. It’s very important to me that children are given the supports that they need in order to succeed, and after talking with a multitude of my peers, we had identified a gap that needed to be addressed.

As it is right now, it’s a hit or miss whether students experiencing chronic absenteeism and victimes of trauma receive the supports that they need in order to feel safe, be mentally stable, feel loved, and succeed in school. My hope by sharing my experience with you is that every district in our state considers adopting accommodating policies and a structure set up to support these students.

Find a list of supports or accomodations that could be considered below. They include but are not limited to: 

  • Recieving full credit for makeup work, 
  • Waived assignments, 
  • Independent projects,
  • Online learning from home if available by school,
  • Awareness of the process to enter an English Learner program,
  • District and school packets offered in various languages,
  • Contacting students directly,
  • Staffing counselors, psychologists, social workers, and graduation specialists, 
  • Extended deadlines for any class assignment, 
  • Schedule changes, 
  • Passing or satisfactory grade change, 
  • Issuance of incomplete grades to extend time to complete course,
  • Frozen grades,
  • Waivers for Physical Education credit,
  • Personal contact with families,
  • Ensuring teachers, other school personnel, and peers understand reasons for chronic absenteeism,
  • Understanding whether culture or religous beliefs may cause absenteeism, 
  • Trauma-informed teaching, and
  • Addressing and counseling on Adverse Childhood Experiences. 

Please find the resolution adopted by the Washington State Board of Education (SBE) on September 12, 2019 regarding support for chronic absenteeism and students experiencing trauma below.

Autymn Wilde
Washington State Board of Education 
Student Member

Adopted September 12, 2019

WHEREAS student Board member, Autymn Wilde, presented to the State Board of Education in
July 2019 about the lack of supports in Washington schools for students who have experienced
trauma or unavoidable circumstances that have led to chronic absenteeism,

WHEREAS the Board believes that individualized supports or accommodations are necessary and
should be readily available to students and families who have experienced trauma, chronic
absenteeism or both,

WHEREAS the Board is committed to using equity as a guiding principle in its work, to address
persistent inequities within our educational system,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THAT the Board encourages all school districts in Washington to
provide supports or accommodations for students and families afflicted by trauma or chronic

Media Contact: 

Stephanie Davidsmeyer
Communications Manager
(360) 725-6035