Teacher Worries ‘School Refusal’ Is Becoming A Big Problem In Young Students — ‘It’s A Misdemeanor To Miss This Much School’

More and more students are simply saying no to going to school.

frustrated teacher sitting at desk with head in hands Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock

These days, teachers are becoming increasingly concerned about the behavior of their students, whether it's their inability to follow rules or unwillingness to put their phones away. One teacher on Reddit is drawing attention to another issue — “school refusal.”

A Montessori teacher said that many young students are refusing to come to school.

The teacher at a Montessori school posted on Reddit seeking advice after noticing a disturbing trend among her students.


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“Occasionally, we will get parents who want to transfer their public school child in halfway through the year,” she wrote. “It’s often due to the fact that their child has special needs in some way, and they are looking for other environments in which they may have a better chance to flourish.”


“In the last four months, I have seen three transfer requests for fourth graders who are all boys, who have severe anxiety, who refuse to go to school [and] who have been absent eight plus days in the last month with their old school,” she continued.

The teacher questioned if any other educators had noticed the same thing happening with their own classes. “Has anyone else seen this trend?” she asked. “One of my other Montessori teachers was telling me that she has a few children that are absent to this extreme as well.”

The teacher explained that she is doing what she can. “I’m working with the first child and his parents (who now understand it’s a misdemeanor to miss this much school), and with some goal-setting and limit-enforcing, he has gone from ten absences to just three absences in the last month,” she said. “We are working toward 100% attendance in May.”

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Other teachers agreed that school refusal has become a major problem.

Fellow teachers who commented on the post knew exactly what this teacher was talking about. “School refusal has been a growing issue for a while,” one person wrote. “The pandemic only made it worse. For some kids, remote learning just proved to them that school attendance does not matter.”

Another user chimed in, writing, “I have a huge truancy issue with my class this year. I haven’t had any claims of it being anxiety related, mostly kids who just tell me outright they were up late playing video games, the family decided to leave for a week vacation, or they just didn’t feel like coming to school.”

While this teacher felt that anxiety did not factor into truancy issues, another did. They stated that “‘social anxiety’ is coming from living most of life through screens.” Because of that, “one day, they all of a sudden have ‘anxiety’ because they are asked to think for themselves, socialize, make judgments, consider other people’s feelings and do things that they might not enjoy. It’s easier to just refuse to go than to learn how to ‘do school’ or basically ‘do life.’”


A growing concern for the increasing number of children unable to attend school.

♬ original sound- 60 Minutes Australia

It’s true that both anxiety and truancy have become bigger issues in recent years.

The American Psychological Association stated that anxiety has increased greatly for children during the pandemic, so much so that “20.5% of youth worldwide now struggle with anxiety symptoms.”


Anxiety has increased dramatically for students since the COVID-19 pandemic. After being forced into isolation and required to complete school work from home, it’s little wonder that students are more anxious now than ever before.

Additionally, PBS reported, “Some 29.7% of the nation’s students, nearly 14.7 million, were chronically absent in the 2021-2022 school year — missing school at least 10% of the time.”

Absenteeism has clearly become a major problem for students, who are increasingly ignoring the need to attend school.


Anxiety and absences seem to be combining to create problems for students. The two are closely related and set up in some kind of lethal cause-and-effect pattern. It’s important to address these problems early so students are not adversely affected any more than they already are.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.