Monday, October 23, 2006

The Myth of School Phobia

From the Forester newspaper, a story about a mum homeschooling her child as a result of school bullying.

All power to those parents who think creatively about how to prevent their children suffering needlessly, I say. However, I spoke to someone from the school today, who said that the way the school authorities see it, Tiah was school phobic. Hmm, we've heard that one before...like it is totally unreasonable to be fearful of a situation where you are routinely bullied.

8 comments:

Leo said...

There are so many things to fear about school and so little to like. Bullies, bad teachers, opportunist paedophiles, stalled learning, lie entrenching and the latest and most hateful trend - the occasional visit of the celebrities full of themselves but with little real knowledge.

Off topicness: Can I quote something you posted on the UKHE list on my blog?

Carlotta said...

Hi Leo,

Yep, no problem.

Clare said...

Gah! My cousin hated school, and occassionally refused to go...she's now training as a Children's Nurse. In their Mental Health section, they were 'reliably' informed that 'school refusal' is considered a childhood mental health condition!!!??????? So basically, being scared of something totally rational is considered something you may need medical treatment for! Makes me hate the system even more than I do already

Cx

Anonymous said...

Is there anything that we can do about altering the definition of refusing school=school phobia=mental health condition?

This is very dangerous. If we were seriously bullied at work and once in the building were unable to leave, would the authorities call it 'work phobia'?

I can't get over the awful implications...children getting labelled sick, being medicated, being seen as irrational humans...AHhh!!! There must be something we can do about this.k

D
D

Clare said...

I agree - so terrible. Fancy being labelled as someone with a Mental Health condition before you're even an adult, simply on the basis that you hate being forced to attend somewhere you feel miserable - surely that's just what most sane people would expect! School can be pretty hideous for some children and labelling them for admitting to finding it hideous is only going to cause more children to become mentally ill by essentially forcing them to internalise the negative feelings they're expressing which are then likely to come out later on in life...maybe in the form of 'yob behaviour'; serious drug-taking (as a form of escape...?); any other form of so-called anti-social behaviour...

Cx

archrights said...

I guess it's the same kind of labelling that was once used on women: if they became bored and depressed with housework-filled days, they were doped with Valium. If they didn't find their husbands attractive, they were 'frigid'. It took one helluva struggle to reach any acknowledgment that the faults might be structural rather than personal.

Trouble is, children have even less power to assert themselves. Unless adults are willing to take up their fight, it's hard to see how things will change. The expression 'turkeys don't vote for Xmas' springs to mind!

Leo said...

Careful with mixing animal rights with children's rights, even if jokingly.

I think only people that are psychiatrists can sucessfully criticise the institution.

Carlotta said...

I think you are absolutely right ARCH...adults (morally and legally) have a huge responsibility in this regard...they are responsible for the emotional welfare of their children but just don't seem to see it, so that the pressure remains on parents who respond to their children to demonstrate that they are not over-protective!!!
(The world is screwy!)

Am interested to know how commonplace the problem of school refusal is nowadays...and whether the situation has changed markedly since the 80's. If anyone knows of any recent figures or up-to-date info about children who suffer in schools, I would be very grateful.