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Old 10-31-2010, 09:43 AM
 
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Huge debate between my husband and I...
Trying to decide whether to send out daughter to a private, parochial, or public middle/high school.
Our main concern is whether drugs, violence, bulling etc. is more prevalent in any of these specific types of schools?
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:23 AM
 
Location: southwestern PA
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They are everywhere...
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:33 AM
 
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I think drugs, violence and bullying can happen in any setting.

I think that drugs are a problem with teens in all school settings. I see violence and bullying as a bigger problem in public schools. In larger schools there are more students and the teachers each know a lesser percentage of the students so they are less aware of the bullying and violence that may be brewing and are less able to stop it. In addition, private schools can expel students who are violent where public schools must work with all students in their school, making it difficult for administrators in public schools to keep their schools totally safe from violence.

In my area there is a big variation between the most and least violent public schools. Some public schools are much safer than others and approach the same level of safety as private schools. Others are very dangerous places to be. I would advise you and your husband to investigate the actual public school that your child would be attending before you make any decisions. Some are quite safe, others less so.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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I think it very, very much depends on specific school and location. Drugs (including so-called "hard" drugs) and drinking far more at their private schools than I ever did at my public school, but I think much of that was due to demographics (ours was pretty middle-class). The richest schools have kids with the most disposable money, and in some cases, parents who seem to be too busy working to pay attention to what their kids are doing. (it's also easy to be lulled into thinking a school with a good academic reputation means that the kids aren't also experimenting with drugs and other things). I recently asked some younger relatives and friends about that topic, and they agree that, based on their experiences and that of their friends, around here it seems like the more wealthy the overall student body, the more drugs and drinking. Catholic schools aren't immune from it either.

I think that you'll have the best luck if you look at each specific school and approach it that way. All schools are going to have the risk of some or all of those things, but they approach the matter in different ways and the schools do have different cultures. If you're looking to avoid those problems then you don't want, for example, a school where the adminstrators all say "we don't have any of those problems here" (since realistically almost any school of any size is going to have some problems) or a culture in which the parents are willing to host drinking parties for their kids (the "better drink at home than drive" approach) or look the other way if their kid gets busted for drugs. Some school cultures definitely seem more permissive on that front than others, but I don't think it breaks down along private/public/parochial lines.

No idea about bullying, but one nice thing about our relatively diverse student body was that there was no pressure to wear one certain thing or look a certain way. It was pretty much anything goes. I think a school where the kids all come from roughly the same background might be more of a pressure cooker for bullying, but that's just a complete guess.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:50 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 53,984,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
I think it very, very much depends on specific school and location. Drugs (including so-called "hard" drugs) and drinking far more at their private schools than I ever did at my public school, but I think much of that was due to demographics (ours was pretty middle-class). The richest schools have kids with the most disposable money, and in some cases, parents who seem to be too busy working to pay attention to what their kids are doing. (it's also easy to be lulled into thinking a school with a good academic reputation means that the kids aren't also experimenting with drugs and other things). I recently asked some younger relatives and friends about that topic, and they agree that, based on their experiences and that of their friends, around here it seems like the more wealthy the overall student body, the more drugs and drinking. Catholic schools aren't immune from it either.

I think that you'll have the best luck if you look at each specific school and approach it that way. All schools are going to have the risk of some or all of those things, but they approach the matter in different ways and the schools do have different cultures. If you're looking to avoid those problems then you don't want, for example, a school where the adminstrators all say "we don't have any of those problems here" (since realistically almost any school of any size is going to have some problems) or a culture in which the parents are willing to host drinking parties for their kids (the "better drink at home than drive" approach) or look the other way if their kid gets busted for drugs. Some school cultures definitely seem more permissive on that front than others, but I don't think it breaks down along private/public/parochial lines.

No idea about bullying, but one nice thing about our relatively diverse student body was that there was no pressure to wear one certain thing or look a certain way. It was pretty much anything goes. I think a school where the kids all come from roughly the same background might be more of a pressure cooker for bullying, but that's just a complete guess.
I would say that working is probably not the reason for parents "ignoring" drug/alcohol use in most schools. Parents wanting their kids to be the "most popular" is more likely the reason you see these things happening. They don't want their child to miss THE party, etc. Heck, look what happened at Eden Prairie last year when kids were kicked off sports teams for violating the State High School league anti-substance use policy and the parents tried to SUE the SCHOOL .

OP, our kids have gone to both private and public schools and quite honestly, there were FAR more issues at the private schools then we have EVER seen at the public schools-a lot of that comes from parents paying tuition and assuming they can tell the teachers and administrators what to do-AND that attitude rubbing off on their kids-not just drugs/alcohol but attitude/behavior/bullying, etc. as well. Not everyone is like this, we have great friends that we met at both schools but it is easier for the kids to distance themselves from these things at a larger school.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
I would say that working is probably not the reason for parents "ignoring" drug/alcohol use in most schools. Parents wanting their kids to be the "most popular" is more likely the reason you see these things happening. They don't want their child to miss THE party, etc. Heck, look what happened at Eden Prairie last year when kids were kicked off sports teams for violating the State High School league anti-substance use policy and the parents tried to SUE the SCHOOL .

OP, our kids have gone to both private and public schools and quite honestly, there were FAR more issues at the private schools then we have EVER seen at the public schools-a lot of that comes from parents paying tuition and assuming they can tell the teachers and administrators what to do-AND that attitude rubbing off on their kids-not just drugs/alcohol but attitude/behavior/bullying, etc. as well. Not everyone is like this, we have great friends that we met at both schools but it is easier for the kids to distance themselves from these things at a larger school.
And then there's "Not MY kid" syndrome....
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Old 10-31-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: California
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Just keep in mind that many private schools take in kids who were kicked out of public schools, for a price. Your kids best defense anywhere is a strong family and good social network at whatever school she attends.
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Old 10-31-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
And then there's "Not MY kid" syndrome....
I wish there was a vaccine for this...
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Old 10-31-2010, 04:47 PM
 
Location: On a Slow-Sinking Granite Rock Up North
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Originally Posted by Pitt Chick View Post
They are everywhere...

Absolutely agree. Some areas (meaning kids/schools/parents) are just better able to keep it under wraps than others.

To me it boils down to parents paying very close attention and actually discussing the issues - frequently.
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Old 10-31-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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Thanks for the great information! This will be very useful in our decision. Like most post here, I agree, but with most parents not involved, it's my biggest worry.
I feel the environments that we expose our children to play a factor. I wish this was easier!
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