Private Schools Help Deter Bullying


Bullying. It has become so commonplace in our society that it feels like an inescapable reality of school life. It is a parent's greatest fear, and too often it can feel like you are helplessly stuck on the sidelines, only able to hope that it does not happen to your child. Bullying is not okay: it is harmful and corrodes the purpose of school, which is to get an education. There does not seem to be a concrete solution for public schools to deal with this alarming issue. Often bullies only get a "talking to" and are rarely suspended, which only cultivates the fear that makes victims reluctant to ask for help from their teachers.

I do not profess to know a permanent solution to this troubling issue, but I do know one thing: Studies by the National Center for Education Statistics show that bullying is less prevalent in private schools than in public schools. A 2015 HILDA survey revealed that twice as many parents of public school students reported their children had been bullied compared to private school parents. Of course there are many different degrees of bullying, so that one definition does not fit all, but it is logical to assume that in at least some capacity, private schools do offer a solution to the problem.

The first way private schools are contributing to a workable solution is choice: if your child is being bullied at a public school and the school administration is unable to offer an acceptable solution, the existence of private schools allows you to enrol your child at a different school and thus escape the bullying.

But once at private school, how can you feel rest assured that your child will remain safe? One answer is small class sizes. Because private schools guarantee small classes, the teachers will be able to supervise students more effectively, and any whiff of bullying will not go undetected like it often does in public schools. Greater and more effective teacher supervision has been proven to be a strong deterrent against bullying, nipping the problem right in the bud.

Another reason why private schools have less bullying—and if they do, are more effective at dealing with it—is the nature of the school administration. Because private schools are independent, they possess more freedom and authority to deal with the perpetrators instead of having to adhere to a lot of bureaucratic red tape. If a case of bullying is proven to exist and has occurred on more than one occasion despite formal warnings, private schools have the ability to expel problem students; they don't expect the victims to solve their own problems by switching schools. Private schools have zero tolerance for bullying, because they have a greater responsibility to students' families (who are paying for their school experience after all).

I hope you enjoyed this post, and that one day public administrations can come up with a permanent solution for dealing with school bullying.

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