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Old 02-07-2013, 09:43 AM
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I had a party over the weekend and one of the topics of conversation was bullying in private schools vs bullying in public schools. ( public from good neighborhoods and good school districts ) Even though none of my guests had any kids in private school, they all seemed to think that bullying was probably non-existent in private schools, because of the stricter rules, better teachers, and more parental involvement. I don't completely agree with that, mainly because I think bullying can happen in any school, private or public. Plus, because private schools need the tuition, they might be hiding the issue pretty well. The comparison has been on my mind since, so I was wondering if anyone has any stories to share about the social issues and bullying in the private schools.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:50 AM
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I don't know if bullying is a pubic/private issue. I think that schools that deal effectively with bullies have administrators who are effective in dealing with bullies and that can happen in a private or public setting.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:22 AM
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We pulled one of my children at of a private school a couple months ago because of bullying. My other two children remain there. In our circumstances, the other parents were very involved in the school as were we, but failed to be effective at actually controlling what their child was doing when they were not around. The private school was so small that there were no counselors or anyone else to handle the situation besides the classroom teacher and the school director. Both of those people did really mean well but failed to get a handle on the situation as well mostly because lacking of experience and training in girl on girl bullying. My child is now at a public school for the rest of the year which has proven to be a very poor fit for her, BUT I'm amazed at how serious the public school takes bullying. They are constantly educating the students about different forms of bullying, what is not ok, what to do, etc... This was something that was seriously lacking in our private school. There was a culture that bullying doesn't happen there, there is no need to educate students or teachers. Bullying happens everywhere and everyone should be aware of the severe lasting effects.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:21 PM
Location: St. Louis, MO
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I totally disagree with the OP's friends. DH & I both went through Private school systems (me in Australia, at a very prestigious girls school and DH here in the States at Catholic schools) and bullying was rife on all fronts.

At my school, bullies often went unpunished if it was deemed that their parents were too socially important (the school didn't want to cause any 'scandal' by punishing / suspending / expelling children of well known politicians, CEO's, etc) so therefore the bullies often continued to behave as such. I saw some seriously cruel and crazy things during my years in an all-girls private school. Although it's unlikely that girls will beat each other up (although I did see it happen a time or two) they'll find other ways to inflict pain / humiliation on others (everything from urinating on someone's uniform hanging in the locker room, to forcing others into situations of public humiliation).

Just because a child has wealthy parents or parents who can afford to send them to a private school, doesn't necessarily give the child 'class' or automatically equate to an upbringing which will deter them from bullying.

When DH was in Elementary & Middle school, he was a really chubby kid (totally unrecognizable now, I've seen photos of DH at 10 and it doesn't even resemble him) who was more artistic, musical and intellectually inclined than sporty. Therefore, he frequently suffered at the hands of bullies although he still won't go into detail.

By late high school, he'd started working out and the baby fat turned into muscle and it curbed the bullying. To this day, he's a gym rat (he spends about 2 hours a day in the gym, mostly doing weights) and just recently finished an enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps- so like I said, he's unrecognizable now compared to the chubby 'marching band geek' that got bullied in school.

With all that said and done though... we've decided to homeschool our upcoming baby and future children. We realize that we can't shelter them from bullies their entire life, but bullying does seem to be an ever increasing epidemic in all schools, both public and private and it's not something we want to willfully subject our children to. AMB8301 is right that everyone should be aware of the severe lasting effects.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:28 PM
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OP, your friends couldn't be more wrong.

No experience in public school but as a private school kid I can tell you bullying was pretty horrific at times both girls and boys. All of my friends and family pretty much went to private school, same experience. Kids are pretty mean to each other, and bullying doesn't contain it self to contraints such as money/skin/gender. It's everywhere.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:54 PM
Location: Dallas TX
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Bullying happens in any school, public or private. It truly depends on the leadership IMO. I had my children enrolled in a private school that was amazing. Two years in, they let go the principal and brought in someone new. The new principal, did NOTHING to prevent kids from bullying, stealing, acting like hooligans. Half the school pulled their kids out the end of the year.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:51 AM
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Both my kids were bullied in the private school setting (in the US and Europe). This was in the middle school years. When they entered the public schools there was no bullying.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:27 PM
Location: here
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I doubt there is much difference between private and public. People seem to think private schools exist in some kind of bubble that doesn't let the outside world in, and that's just not the case.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:33 PM
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kids are cruel and going to find some way to get under each other's skins. Some is outright bullying and some is the 'mean girl' thing. This is true for public or private.

My children went to both and I found the out and out bullying and physical threats more in public school, but in private school my daughter had problems with the girls about clothes and things like that.

I think that if my daughter had not let them know they could get to her the girls wouldn't have 'mean girled' her. But they knew they could so they did

Bottom line, yes social issues and bullying are in both public and private
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:36 AM
Location: San Marcos, TX
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Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post
I doubt there is much difference between private and public. People seem to think private schools exist in some kind of bubble that doesn't let the outside world in, and that's just not the case.
And people also forget that the term "private school" can mean SO many different things that it is impossible to generalize.

Where I live, private schools consist of religious (mostly Catholic), military style, elite schools for those with a lot of money, and small co-op style "hippie schools" as I like to call 'em.

My boys (oldest 2, not the girl) went to the last sort. For their elementary years, they were in a school that spanned from age 2.5 to 12, mixed age classes, and a total of 60 kids in the entire school. We knew every single family and vice versa. It was truly a "village" sort of experience. The families were a mix of people who could easily afford to send their kids and those, like me, who worked at the school in exchange for big tuition break, or others who had grandparents helping and would never have afforded it otherwise.

It was (and still is) a school with very low tuition compared to other private schools, something made possible by heavy parent interaction and a requirement that each family dedicate a certain number of in-person hours a month to help keep things running. So, only having to pay teacher salaries and not having to pay for things like catering, building and grounds maintenance, after-school providers, and administration (office staff), they were able to keep costs down.

Most times there was a wait list, and it was largely based on word of mouth and the school's reputation for being such a great place to put your kids. Major decisions (such as if a child/family should be "asked to leave" or not) were made by a board of directors made up of mostly parents. So it really didn't matter if Johnny's daddy had a ton of money and was helping fund new playground equipment; if Johnny was repeatedly disruptive, mean, and physically aggressive he'd still be asked to go. The playground would be funded some other way.

I never saw any sort of bullying or seriously frightening behavior go unchecked. Sure, there was always an effort made to work with the family to resolve things but never at the expense of other children. A decision to ask a family to place their child elsewhere was always difficult and not taken lightly, but decisions were also made swiftly for the benefit of other kids at the school.

That's the only kind of private school experience I can comment on. Now, when I was a kid, I remember bullying going on unchecked in a small town public school, and certainly it was an issue in my large public school in the "good" part of town. My kids have been (after leaving private school) in a small charter school that is rather urban, but surprisingly, no bullying issues. The things I hear about other local public schools though, with regard to bullying, make me really never want my kids to attend, but maybe that's because they are inner-city.
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