7 yrs. Grade 2

My son has had issues all his life. In preschool, red flags were noticed and professional services were obtained. During his time at school, he was told he’s being a baby, he’s a “drama kid”, to get over it, has a victim complex- by the principal of his school- and was being yelled at by the vice principal, when it clearly stated in his psych evaluation that he’s sensitive to tone of voice and body language.

10 yrs. Grade 5

My eldest son was suicidal 3 years ago. The demands of school outstripped his ability to meet the expectations. He was in the mental health unit for 2 weeks. Upon returning to school, it was a long, hard battle with a school with zero knowledge of how to help. Ultimately, we had to pull him out to homeschool. He has been out of receiving proper education for 3 years. Our second son, currently 10, is the one from this questionnaire. I had to homeschool all 5 kids last year due to the inexperience of our school. We attend an INCREDIBLE…

8 yrs. Grade 3

Last year, my son would constantly complain that he was too sick to go to school. His stomach would hurt, and we would always agonize about whether to send him to school or not. If we kept him home, he always felt better. We suspected that he had dyslexia, but the school completely ignored our concerns. They blamed us as parents and told us he had a behaviour problem. We finally paid to have a psychoeducational assessment. He was diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and school-related anxiety. As a parent, I felt guilty for sending him to school, where he was…

13 yrs. Grade 7

The end of grade 6 was very challenging for my child. He was struggling with anxiety and refusing to attend school, and he missed close to 20 days of school in the last couple of months. As a concerned parent, I advocated for my son and took him to his paediatrician (who was not helpful). We did have a wonderful resource teacher that my son connected with and who provided resources and suggestions. In preparing for the change of schools for grade 7, I made an appointment to see the guidance counsellor with my son before school started to 1)…

11 yrs. Grade 6

My son has been diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders; stress and lack of structure are triggers. My son has been bullied and suspended many times because his bully will tease and want to fight; then, if my son retaliates, he’s punished every time; if he goes to a teacher, nothing is done, and seeking justice is big for him. If you keep teaching a child that one child’s needs are more important than their own, their anxiety will get higher, their stress will get worse, and therefore everyone is in a worse spot. Teachers don’t realize how little words,…

10 yrs. Grade 5

My child missed half a school year in kindergarten. Five days a week for 6 hours for a 5-year-old is too much. From kindergarten to grade 3, every morning was a fight…always too tired. Coming home with timed math test with results 2 out of 20 correct was devastating for my daughter’s confidence. Why in god’s name are 8-year-olds undergoing timed math tests that stress them out so much they refuse to go to school?

13 yrs. Grade 8

We have two children with anxiety and school refusal. We have gone from a family who had it all together to barely being able to keep our heads above water. We have lost friends, money, and opportunities. We have not been able to support our parents as they age. Almost every day is a struggle to stay positive.

13 yrs. Grade 8

We submitted our human rights complaint at the end of grade 5, after 3 months of school refusal that was met with shock from school and division admin because they didn’t understand why she didn’t want to be at school. We had over 300 pages of emails (and that doesn’t include phone calls and meetings) from issues going back to grade 1, detailing incidents and asking for planning. If they’d put in even a minimal plan for her, then we wouldn’t be here. The division even sent a social worker to our house, who spent 3 hours trying to determine…

10 yrs. Grade 5

Our daughter loves learning and is a strong student but, over the years, her anxiety has become so linked with the over-stimulating school environment that she can’t even do schoolwork at home it is so stressful for her. In our entire region, there does not exist a program that she is eligible for, where she could attend school in a small classroom environment, with only a handful of other kids. This is how I see her being the most successful. There are also huge holes in the public health and school systems in terms of programming. Early on, she wasn’t…

11 yrs. Grade 5

My daughter initially complained of headaches before school – we saw a paediatrician, had her vision and hearing checked. No one indicated anxiety was a possible cause, and it was only a random internet search that tuned me in to the topic of school refusal. That allowed me to speak more openly with our daughter regarding her feelings about school. I had to – and was thankfully able to – change my work schedule to walk my child to class right at starting bell, as the pre-school chaos was very overwhelming for her. Having to attend while so anxious and…