When children stop going to school out of fear

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The psychological pressure on children and young people has increased during the Corona period. Because of depression or bullying, it is difficult for some to attend classes. Visit the school evaders project.

from dpa

If the stress becomes too great, some children and young adults will not be able to attend classes. The AWO School Avoidance Department in Hannover offers assistance.

Photo: DPA

Hanover (dpa). Automatically skip the last two lessons because the weather is so nice – many guys have already tried it. However, there are also children who, for various reasons, are not able to come to class regularly.

Long absences can be caused by family problems, bullying, or personal mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders. Has the pandemic exaggerated what experts call school avoidance? Will there be more school dropouts and therefore more unemployed youth as a result of Corona?

More school dropouts due to the epidemic

“The phenomenon of truancy has increased,” says Thomas Thor, Head of School Avoidance Department in the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO) Hannover. According to Thor’s observation, injured students usually receive help too late. “Children stay under the radar for a long time.” Half of the classes are often sick anyway because of positive corona tests, and in individual cases parents leave their children at home because they refuse to wear masks in class and refuse to self-exam. However, the Hannover Ministry of Education does not have national figures.

Thor believes that the far-reaching consequences of the epidemic will only become clear in the coming years. AWO offers various projects to avoid school. On the Konnex Project, young people receive individual advice and support. Another project called Glashütte is a place for extracurricular learning: seven children aged 13-17 currently receive four hours of instruction here, as well as social, educational and therapeutic support.

They include Jones (13), Aida (14) and Aniella (16), whose real names are different. The reason for her fear of school is not bad grades or even inactivity. The three talk about bullying from the fifth grade. It was a long time before they trusted their parents. Aniela says she changed classes for the first time. “But the kids talked to my old classmates before the change and then the bullying continued.” Now the three hope to start over at another school after the summer break.

Teachers see increase in truancy

According to surveys, about 3 to 4 percent of all pupils miss school for an extended period. There is hardly any statistical data. According to a representative survey by the Robert Bosch Foundation, 26 percent of teachers surveyed nationwide in September 2021 reported an increase in truancy since spring 2020. In schools in social hotspots, as many as 35 percent confirmed this increase.

“Many of our clients have developed a tendency to withdraw in the past two years, they lack experience in dealing with conflicts,” says Thor. Some can no longer afford to have 30 children in one room. School is a difficult place to be for people with social phobia.

According to the head of the school evasion department, much more staff are needed to deal with the learning deficit or psychological problems of individual students after the two-year pandemic. He doesn’t want to blame teachers: “They have to produce grades, evaluate performance, that’s their main job, that’s what the education system requires.”

Fine action can be taken against legal guardians

Education is compulsory in Germany, so in the event of prolonged absence from class without excuse, fine proceedings must be initiated against the legal guardians. However, this did not apply to homeschooling in Lower Saxony in 2020. When schools were closed for several months due to Corona, teachers lost contact with individual students who missed video conferences or did not complete assignments.

According to Thor’s observation, schools deal very differently with young people who are often absent for a long time. From the social educator’s point of view, it is fatal to point out to them: “After Corona, you can slowly get out of the hood.” Binding agreements are necessary.

Adolescent psychiatrists in case of absenteeism

AWO section to avoid school

German school barometer survey

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220330-99-727253 / 2

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