Different Kinds of Chronic Absences: School Truancy and Refusal
School truancy refers to the number of unexcused absences a student has throughout the year. In contrast, chronic absenteeism refers to the total number of absences, both excused and unexcused. Typically, truancy refers to students who are purposely skipping school to engage in inappropriate or illegal activities—usually without the knowledge of their parent or guardian. Recently, schools have begun to take a more active role in preventing truancy through a change in mindset. You can use these strategies from the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention to support your school truancy efforts by using SEL techniques like building positive relationships and fostering a growth mindset.
Every year, between 2 and 5% of children refuse to go to school because they feel anxious or depressed, or because they are being bullied. One in eight children suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Although similar in outcome, truancy and school refusal are considered completely different kinds of chronic absenteeism. As such, school refusal absences should be handled in a different way. Download this excellent resource from the National Association for School Psychologists (NASP) on how schools, parents, and healthcare professionals can support students with anxiety disorders.