chool 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. 

While this was formerly called school phobia, the term school refusal was coined to reflect that children have problems attending school for a variety of different reasons and these reasons might not be the expression of a true phobia, such as separation or social anxiety.


Symptoms of school refusal include the child saying they feel sick often, or waking up with a headache, stomachache, 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.


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 school nurse because of physical complaints, and crying about wanting to go home.

It is important for parents to keep trying to get their child to go back to school. 

The longer a child stays out of school, the harder it will be to return.

It may be hard to accomplish as when forced they are prone to temper tantrums, crying spells, psychosomatic or panic symptoms and threats of self-harm. These problems quickly fade if the child is allowed to stay home.

Parents should take their child to the doctor, who will be able to rule out any illness that may be causing the problem. Parents should also talk to the child’s teacher or school counselor.Although school refusal is not a clinical disorderit can be associated with several psychiatric disorders, including Separation Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, and Conduct Disorder.Therefore it is critical that youths who are school refusing receive a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional.

Whereas some cases of school refusal can be resolved by gradual re-introduction to the school environment, some others may need to be treated with some form of psychodynamic or cognitive-behaviour therapy. Some families have sought alternative education for school refusers which has also proved to be effective. In extreme cases, some form of medication is sometimes 


Factors that can cause reluctance to attend school can be divided into four categories. 

The child possibly wants to avoid school-related issues and situations that cause unpleasant feelings in her or him, such as anxiety, depression, or psychosomatic symptoms. 

The reluctance to attend school is one symptom that can indicate the presence of a larger issue, such as anxiety disorder, depression, learning disability, sleep disorder, separation anxiety or panic disorder.

The child may want to avoid tests, presentations, group work, specific lessons, or interaction with other children. The child should be assessed for learning disabilities if academic performance is average or low.

The child may want attention from significant people outside of school, such as parents or older acquaintances.

The child possibly wants to do something more enjoyable outside of school, like practice hobbies, play computer games, watch movies, play with friends such as riding bikes, etc., or learn autodidactictally.

Other factors can be:

Anxiety about academic achievement and being tested can arise on the basis of inflated claims by teachers and/or parents, but also unrealistic ambitions of the upset child themselves.

School refusal may arise as a response to bullying.

Shyness or a social phobia can contribute to school refusal.

The child might worry about parents or siblings, for instance, a parent with substance abuse, or a parent who physically abuses other family members.

Some students may refuse to go to school due to anxiety or fears of emergency such as fire accidents, fear of harmed by others etc.