I find it quite unsettling that virtually all professionals qualified to work with children have no idea how to treat this relatively common problem. This includes teachers, principals, psychologists and others.
School refusal is the refusal to attend school due to emotional distress. School refusal differs from truancy in that children with school refusal feel, anxiety or fear towards school, whereas truant children generally have no feelings of fear towards school, often feeling angry or bored with it instead.
Symptoms of school refusal include the child saying they feel sick often, or waking up with a headache, stomach-ache, or sore throat. If the child stays home from school, these symptoms might go away, but come back the next morning before school. Additionally, children with school refusal may have crying spells or throw temper tantrums.
Warning signs of school refusal include frequent complaints about attending school, frequent tardiness or unexcused absences, absences on significant days (tests, speeches, physical education class), frequent requests to call or go home, excessive worrying about a parent when in school, frequent requests to go to the nurse’s office because of physical complaints, and crying about wanting to go home.
School refusal children are usually healthy and have no medical problems that warrant their behaviour. The SCPP has had great success with these children and by giving parents the tools to deal with these children they are usually back at school with in a couple of days with no further problems in this regard being experienced.