Can I Call the Police if My Child Refuses to Go to School? Understanding Your Options

Can I Call the Police if My Child Refuses to Go to School?

When your child refuses to go to school, it can be a frustrating and challenging situation for parents. Many wonder if calling the police is a viable option to address this issue. In this article, we will discuss whether involving law enforcement is an appropriate response and provide alternative strategies for handling school refusal.

Can You Call the Police?

In most cases, calling the police is not the recommended course of action when your child refuses to go to school. Law enforcement typically intervenes in cases involving criminal activity, and a child’s refusal to attend school does not usually fall under this category. Additionally, involving the police in a situation like this may escalate the situation and create unnecessary tension between you and your child.


In some jurisdictions, chronic truancy (frequent unexcused absences) may be considered a legal issue. As a result, local law enforcement could get involved if a child’s absenteeism is deemed excessive and violates compulsory education laws. However, even in these cases, the focus should be on finding solutions to address the underlying issues causing the truancy rather than relying solely on law enforcement.

Alternative Strategies for Addressing School Refusal


The first step in addressing school refusal is to have an open and honest conversation with your child to understand the reasons behind their reluctance to attend school. Common causes may include anxiety, bullying, academic struggles, or social issues. Understanding the root of the problem will help you develop a plan to address their concerns and find the appropriate support.

School Involvement

Involve your child’s teachers, school counselors, and administrators in finding a solution. They may have valuable insights and resources to help address your child’s specific needs. For instance, if your child is struggling academically, a teacher may provide additional support or accommodations to help them catch up.

Mental Health Support

If your child’s refusal to attend school stems from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, it’s crucial to seek professional help. A mental health professional, such as a psychologist or therapist, can provide guidance and support to help your child cope with their emotions and develop strategies to manage their anxiety.

Establishing a Routine

Creating a consistent morning routine can help reduce stress and anxiety related to attending school. This may include setting a specific wake-up time, having a nutritious breakfast, and allowing for some downtime before leaving for school. Additionally, setting consequences for refusing to go to school and rewarding good attendance can help reinforce the importance of education.

Alternative Education Options

If your child’s school refusal persists despite trying various strategies, it might be worth considering alternative education options. This could include homeschooling, online learning, or enrolling your child in a different school environment that better suits their needs and learning style.


While it may be tempting to call the police when your child refuses to go to school, it’s generally not the best course of action. Instead, focus on understanding the reasons behind their refusal, involving school staff, seeking mental health support, establishing routines, and exploring alternative education options. By addressing the root causes of school refusal, you will have a better chance of helping your child overcome their reluctance to attend school and foster a more positive attitude towards education.

By Nichole