School Refusal

Understanding School Refusal

Resources for addressing the mental health issues behind school refusal behaviors and strategies for helping kids get back to class.


Struggling with a student who is melting down before school? Spending more time in the nurse’s office than the classroom? Afraid to interact with other students or teachers?

While everyone has a rough day or two, when a child falls into a pattern of habitually avoiding or refusing school, it can heighten stress levels and indicate a deeper struggle with mental health.

In four eye-opening episodes of the Understanding School Refusal podcast series, you will hear our medical experts break down the complexities of why children refuse to go to school, identify symptoms and behaviors, and share school refusal intervention strategies that educators and parents can use to work together to help kids get back to class.

Understanding School Refusal Podcast Series

School Refusal Episode 1.mp3

What is school refusal?


School Refusal Episode 2.mp3

Why do children refuse to go to school?


School Refusal Episode 3.mp3

School refusal intervention strategies


School Refusal Episode 4.mp3

School refusal treatment


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Help Spread Awareness

Download School Refusal Resources

School refusal fact sheet

Quick facts on school refusal

School refusal behaviors

Six signs of school refusal

Identifying accommodating behaviors

Accommodating behaviors


Access the Compassion Resilience Toolkit for Schools: information, activities, and resources for school leadership and staff about maintaining physical, emotional, and mental well-being while responding compassionately to people who are suffering.

For information on understanding and managing anxiety in schools, listen to our School Anxiety podcast series

Meet our experts

  • David M. Jacobi, PhD, Lead Psychologist, Child and Adolescent CBT Services

    David M. Jacobi, PhD

    Lead Psychologist, Child and Adolescent CBT Services

    David M. Jacobi, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in using cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of OCD and anxiety disorders. Dr. Jacobi serves as the lead ...

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  • Heather M. Jones, PhD, Director of Clinical Services

    Heather M. Jones, PhD

    Director of Clinical Services

    Heather M. Jones, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who directs the clinical services for inpatient and outpatient care at Rogers Behavioral Health in Oconomowoc. Dr. Jones specializes in utilizing ...

    Read More

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