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
- The War on Kids– Documentary on the oppressive nature of school
- John Gatto– Author and former teacher writes about the sinister history and mission of schooling
- Mike A. Males– Reveals how children are scapegoated by society
- Youth Facts– Excellent resource on facts about youth
- The Progressive Review– Anti-school site
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.
- School Sucks– Podcast against public education
- War on Kids – Facebook Forum for those who object to school
- SchoolSurvival– A support site for students who hate school
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.
- Student Resistance Handbook– Free download listing ways students can fight back
- Why My School Sucks– An example of constructive student discontent
- Libertarian Rock– Activists for youth rights
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.
- National Youth Rights Association– Advocates for civil liberties for youth
- Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth – Advocates for civil liberties for youth
- Rutherford Institute– Provides free legal services to people whose civil rights have been threatened or violated – often works with victims of Zero Tolerance
- ACLU– While certainly the best known civil liberties advocates, they are not as committed to youth issues as NYRA and CAFETY
Additional Youth Activism Groups
These groups are focused on specific issues as opposed to general rights.
- Teen Advocates USA– Resource website
- Co-Star– Legal support for students
- Spark Action– Policies and programs for youth
- Free Child– Advocates for social change
- Drug Reform: Students for Sensible Drug Policy– Drug law reform advocates
- Reproductive Rights: Advocates for Youth– Resources for youth reproductive issues
- Voting Rights: KinderRAchTsZAnker– Youth Voting Rights advocates
- Zero Tolerance: Homeland Stupidity– Information on Zero Tolerance Programs
- Privacy: Privacy Rights– Resources on youth rights Privacy Rights Clearinghouse– Some links to papers on privacy rights American Academy of Pediatrics– Information on medical privacy
- Psychiatric Abuse: Fight For Kids– Deals largely with psychiatric medication abuses The Wildest Colts Ritalin Death Samizdata
- Corporal Punishment: NoSpank Corporal Punishment Resources
- Poverty: Children’s Defense– Advocates for issues dealing with poverty and marginalization
- Internet Censorship: Peace Fire– Information on Internet Censorship
- School Uniforms: Opposition to Mandatory School Uniforms Uniform Opt Out Uniform Litigation
- School Lawsuits: Over Lawyered.com