Teen boy skipping school, sitting on railroad tracks with backpack on

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Have you recently discovered that your teenager is skipping school? School truancy can be a frustrating problem for both parents and teachers. If you’re not sure what’s going on, consider these reasons.

1. They’re Using Drugs or Alcohol

Substance use is a common reason for skipping school. Many teenagers try to be careful with their drugs or alcohol consumption because they don’t want to get caught and land in trouble.

Therefore, they will opt to ditch class rather than use substances on campus. Their friends—who are also using drugs or alcohol—often encourage and praise this behavior, which leads to skipping school also becoming part of fitting in with their peers.

2. They Feel Unsafe at School

Sometimes school truancy isn’t an act of rebellion. In your teenager’s mind, skipping school may be a means of survival. If they feel physically or emotionally unsafe at school, they might avoid going altogether.

A teenager might feel physically unsafe in cases of physical assault, bullying, or other forms of harassment, and they might feel emotionally unsafe due to bullying or extreme conflicts with peers. 

3. They Have to Work

Many teenagers experience immense pressure to make money to support themselves or their families. This pressure may be explicitly from a parent, but it may also be internal. As a result, they often start working at a young age.

Students don’t always skip school just to spend time with friends or have fun. In many cases, it’s a matter of prioritizing a job.

Read more about trouble in school.


  1. Teens Skipping School: Youth Truancy | Help Your Teens. (2015). Helpyourteens.Com. https://www.helpyourteens.com/teens-skipping-school-youth-truancy/#:~:text=Sometimes%20a%20student%20will%20skip,abuse%2C%20or%20mental%20health%20problems

  2. McGee, K. (2017, July 26). Why Do Students Skip School? D.C. High Schoolers Have Some Ideas | WAMU. WAMU; WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio. https://wamu.org/story/17/07/26/students-skip-school-d-c-high-schoolers-ideas/

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