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Is there less bullying in private school?


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luv2sleep January 16, 2010


I have been researching public and private schools in my area. Our public schools are good with good scores (all of the schools that my son would be attending get a GS rating of 9 and 10). However, I am concerned about bullying behaviors in public school. I have not heard of any specific issues in the local schools but since my son is only 3, I am not directly involved with them. I went to public school and never dealt with such things but it seems like I hear more about bullying and school violence today.

So, do you think bullying and violence can occur equally in private as well as in a good public school in a good neighborhood?

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luv2sleep January 16, 2010


Anyone have any ideas about this, statistics, etc?

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healthy11 January 17, 2010


Unfortunately, we don't know where you live, and every neighborhood and school is different. Since you say your neighborhood schools do have good ratings, it sounds like families do take their children's educations seriously, and there probably aren't a lot of "classroom distractions" from disruptive influences.

The sheer number of children in large urban areas will often mean you have a greater chance of kids with "bad attitudes" finding each other, but it really only takes one child who picks on another. That can happen (and often does happen) less in classes, than in other areas without as much supervision, like the playground, lunchroom, on the bus, etc.

The attitude of the adults in dealing with it, once they have been made aware it's happening, seems to more serious in private than public schools from what I've seen. Private schools don't have to keep students enrolled who are deemed to be troublemakers, but public schools have to take everyone. That still doesn't prevent bullying from happening in private schools, but once teachers are made aware, the perpetrator probably won't be ignored. Also, families move in and out from one year to another, so sometimes the dynamics of a class can change all on their own.

As I said at the start, however, your neighborhood schools sound quite good, so you may be worrying unnecessarily. Tour the schools before you enroll your child, and you'll probably get a better feeling for each after you see them.

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cyborg February 2, 2010


My daughter has attended public school for the past 5 years and her school is very good with preventing this type of behavior by teaching the kids how to resolve issues before they arise. The children practice and role play. Also there is a community sponsor program called step 2 which holds workshops for parents so they too can be on the same page with what the kids are learning at school. This way the whole family is educated.

I don't think bulling is school specific because you have kids from all walks of life coming together and who knows what baggage they may bring. The key is tstaying involved everyday in your child's life. This will be difficult but you can't depend on schools to eliminate this problem. It does help tremendously to have schools that are proactive but that should not be the deciding factor.

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tjlove February 2, 2010


Just to add my two cents... I think that bullying in private schools can be just as bad. At least it was in my case. I think it's just too broad of a generalization to compare realistically. Like others said, tour the schools you're interested in and ask about their policies on bullying.

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pjb101 February 2, 2010


I went to private school the whole way through and my middle school years in a small, all-girls, predominantly upper-middle-class school were pretty awful socially.

I was targeted by a group of slightly older girls who bullied me -- tripped in the hallway, pushed around in gym class, etc., etc. People didn't talk about bullying then, and I was embarrassed and didn't tell anyone, so it continued. Later I went to a much larger (still private) high school, and I was much happier.

My main point is that bullying, and mean kids, are everywhere -- it doesn't go away in small, homogeneous private schools. In fact, it might be worse in a smaller school if a kid doesn't fit in with their peers, or gets targeted, for whatever reason.

I actually think the public schools (where I live) are doing a really good job of talking about these issues. There are posters up at my kids' public school that help kids figure out if they are being bullied or if they are bullies themselves. It's a really diverse school, socioeconomically and racially, and I personally think that helps. The school really works on the kids developing tolerance, understanding and caring about each other.

I say check out the public schools -- they sound really good -- and save all that private-school tuition money for college!

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FaithHeals February 4, 2010


Bullying is epidemic in our culture. Our child has been in a private school. Next year he is going to public. Tonight we are going to karate... If the public school does not work out we will home school.

Bullying has been a huge issue for us. My child seems to handle it better than I can, but I know what it is like to feel respected and safe. Violence in school is all he knows. It breaks my heart. Never in my life have I had to deal with the level of violence that I encounter all to frequently since I have had a child who has entered the world. I've been bullied more as an adult than I ever had to deal with - even in high school. I am involved with my child's school - interacting with the other parents has given me great insight as to what he is dealing with, and why he chooses to "hide" who he is.

Our public school can provide a better education than private simple because they have more resources - The public school is also larger and has a greater variety of people. Hopefully it will work out.

My child is learning to swim with sharks. He is happy. He is getting an education. The few friends he have are true. This I can be greateful for.




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hazel127 February 4, 2010


as a teacher who has worked in both charter and public and even a private school, I can say that bullying, unfortunately, does occur at all three types of schools.

The difference is in how the bullying takes place. The obvious way we determine bullying is by physical interaction. Bullying can also take the form of verbal domination. Verbal bullying comes in two forms; spoken or verbal isolation.

As a teacher I recognize that students who bully feel isolated as well. I talk with my students about this and explain, "from a psychological point of view" those who put down others are actually seeking attention from the person they are bullying. And I ask the bully, what it is he/she wants the victum to share with them? This is usualy met with a defensive response. I share with them that anytime they are picking on another student they actually want to be friends with that student, but are scared to be nice to them for fear of being rejected.

This approach now sheds new light on the bully's subjective motives to the rest of the students. I ask the others students to help the individual, who is bullying, by telling he/she is welcome to be their friend without abusing them.

I also share that the bully is experiencing difficulty sharing their unique intelligence with the other students. The bully is craving recognition for what they have to offer to the group. They are frustrated as to how to share it and still remain safe. A BULLY IS EXPERIENCING REJECTION AND FEELS ISOLATED. If they can isolate another person, they are in control of befriending the victum later as well as gaining recognition from bystanders. Unfortunately that recognition does not meet the Bully's emotional needs.

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fattyman February 4, 2010


It really depends on the school. We didn't have problems in the alternative elementary school or the catholic high school but if you can believe the movies private schools can be just as bad or worse.

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Mother-Earth February 9, 2010


I went to Private School and Public school. And there was bullies at both. EVery school has one. It doesn't matter what kind of school or neighborhood. It's life!



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