For Students Who Feel Trapped

Talk To Your Parents/Guardians

Convincing parents to let you leave school can be a tremendous challenge. Many parents are resistant to allowing their children to pursue alternative methods of education. Educate yourself on a program that would work best for you with a concrete vision for how you would spend your time constructively. Find resources, such as materials in this site, with information on that process (e.g. unschooling, democratic schooling, etc.) and present that to your parents. See if you can engage them in a dialogue where they express their reasons for wanting you to stay in a school where you are unhappy and what demands need to be met through a different approach to learning. The Teenage Liberation Handbook has a chapter on talking to parents, which you may find useful. Colleges do admit applicants who are unschooled, and your parents need to know that – assuming that is something you want.

Pursue Your Interests

The most reasonable question that anyone will ask you is: “If you leave school, what will you do?”  For many students, their first impulse is simply the desire to be away from an environment

that is not meeting their needs, so this question seems almost irrelevant.  Simply not being in a place where they are suffering should suffice as an answer.  However, figuring out what you would like to do is extremely important, even if you are forced to be in school. Once you have some thoughts, whenever you can, you should try to pursue those interests even while you are trapped.  A much more compelling case can be made for leaving school when you have demonstrated an interest and aptitude in some pursuit that demands a commitment that time spent in school clearly interferes with.  This may still fail to convince parents of the necessity of leaving school, but at least these endeavors involve doing things you want to be doing.

Educate Yourself on Anti-Compulsory Schooling Research and Literature

Read a book on how to skip high school (and still go to college)

  • College Without High School: A Teenager’s Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College. Couldn’t find a good spot and not sure how

Join a Support Group for Students Who Resent Being Forced to go to School

These are the top sites for community complaints and discussion about compulsory schooling. Members discuss their struggles and receive advice or emotional support from others.

Join a Group that Actively Opposes Compulsory Schooling

Beyond discussion and support, you might wish to take some kind of action in the form of resistance. These sites provide some ideas.

Advocate For Civil Rights Within Your School

Student Rights Now- Collection of essays calling for increased student rights

Advocate For Youth Rights Beyond School

Youth are one of the most oppressed groups in the United States. These organizations provide resources and support for many youth concerns.

Additional Youth Activism Groups

These groups are focused on specific issues as opposed to general rights.