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School refusal and bullying

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


School refusal and bullying

Hello,  I have a 11 year old son who is refusing to go to school, he is in fourth grade.

I have spoken to my son about why he does not want to go and he has told me that it is due to him getting teased, picked on and that the teaching staff do not listen to him, or take notice of him; when he has told his teachers, they just tell him that he is making up stories.

I, myself have spoken to the teaching stuff and they haven’t taken my concerns seriously 😒

I have put all the above problems to the fact that I am a single pensioner Mum with a new partner (who is an awesome help) and as we are not rich plus the fact that myself, my partner and my son’s two older brothers have health issues; eg anxiety, depression, autism, Asperger and adhd.

Please help me with my concerns and getting my son to go to school, please please?????


Re: School refusal and bullying

Hey @Rissa 


So sorry to hear you are going through this, school refusal is something we talk about a lot on the forums, you are not alone in experiencing this issue Heart

I'm really disappointed to hear how unhelpful the school has been in resolving this, schools can sometimes be so supportive with these sorts of situations, its such a shame this hasn't been the case for your son. It's not ok for the school not to take action if your son is being bullied, they have a responsibility to ensure his safety at school, could you take the issue further? Perhaps to the Principal of the school?

I'm glad to hear your partner is an awesome help! That is so great you've got that support around you, but it does sound like things are really tough. Have you got an other supports you're accessing or considering accessing?

I hope some other parents are able to offer their insights here with you @Rissa Heart

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: School refusal and bullying

Hi Elissa
You sound stressed and also blessed to have a new partner who is supportive! There has been some research after covid19 about kids who found it hard to go to school before covid and now struggle going back.
Yes I hear you when you say you feel victimised and disrespected as well as unheard because you are a single mother. There are a lot of people both men and women who still blame and shame single mothers in the public school system. You can call your local department of education Office and seek advice with a well being officer. Bullying is a problem and it's not well addressed in the classroom. Is there a school counsellor who can help? Seeing one can help your son build resilience and learn ways to not let bullying get him down.
The school needs to provide safe places - I have heard of schools with chickens, gardens and quiet rooms for colouring in. Do you have these? What about joining clubs targetting student interests? Music, chess, art, etc?
I also think have destressing activities has helped me and my children after school. We are learning to listen to our problems and also fun ways of getting through the day. My daughter doesn't like school and finds her teachers boring immature and lack motivation. We have had to think of daydreaming techniques to help her when she feels overwhelmed and bored so she can still enjoy the day. I don't stress my kids out with academic achievement and NAPLAN at their school has proved boring. Try fun activities after school like throwing water balloons or paint at a canvas or hitting a tennis ball- $11 tennis on a pole at KMart great for de-stress!! We try walking ...
Anti bullying programs at school do exist and you can ask. You need to document all you have tried at the school and also, if things get bad, see your doctor for a chat and thy might have ideas.
Is hard when you feel your loved one is hurting and feels isolated. Try emotionally connecting through spending time. School shouldn't feel like a prison and ALL children deserve support and respect. Make sure you encourage him to speak out and don't feel like nothing can be done.
Take care of yourself and your family. Being a single mother shouldn't be a criminal sentence. Some people stigmatised. Find some time for relaxation and feeling positive about who you are and what you have achieved.

Super contributor

Re: School refusal and bullying

Hi @eitak1, thank you so much for your valuable insight and contribution. Your response is thoughtful, supportive and has a lot of amazing ideas.

Hi @Rissa, I am so sorry to hear that your son is feeling so unheard and attacked at school. I can totally understand why this would be making him hesistant to attend. It is a real shame that the school has not taken your concerns more seriously. Good on you for doing all that you can to support your child. As a side note, I have moved your post to its own thread. Seeing as bullying and/or school refusal is such a common issue among parents, your thread is likely to get more replies having its own area with a relevant title. If you dislike the title I have chosen, please let us know and we can change that for you. You can also do it yourself by clicking the upside down triangle and selecting 'Edit reply' Smiley Happy