Parents today face significant challenges when it comes to raising children, and many of those issues were totally unheard of 50 years ago. In fact, many of these issues involve technology and gadgets that didn't even exist a few decades ago. Sending your child to the right school might be one solution, as a proper educational environment is more controlled and in line with your core values. Let's look at some of these issues and how they impact your choice of a school.
When parents raised their sons and daughters back in the '70s and '80s, we didn't have cell phones. Now, most people would say they don't know how we lived without them. Having the immediacy of contact through voice, text messages, and video chat is reassuring to a parent - not to mention the ability to locate your child at the touch of a button. Unfortunately, cell phones often raise other issues for parents. Many parents wonder who their children are constantly texting and chatting with. They worry about whether the kids are sexting or sending inappropriate pictures using an app that the parents have never even heard of, and parents especially worry about the potential for cyberbullying.
Sometimes school can help. Many schools limit cell phone use during the school day while others use them as a teaching tool, reducing the chances of them being misused during the school day. Even more important, many schools teach the proper use of mobile technology. Even if a digital citizenship course isn't available, cell phone use is often mitigated simply because of constant supervision and students being too engaged in classes to have time to goof off on their phones.
At private schools, in particular, the small size of classes, low student to teacher ratio, and the school environment itself all lend to the fact that students really cannot hide anything they are doing. It's both a matter of respect and one of privacy and safety. Private schools take your child's safety and security very seriously. It's everybody's responsibility - students, teachers, and staff - to be aware of what's going on around them and to take appropriate action. Developing character, respect for others and a sense of community are core values in most private schools.
You also can't use your phone to get into trouble if you're using it to study. Many private schools are finding ways to incorporate cell phones and tablets into the learning process.
Bullying is a serious issue of harassment and can have negative consequences if gone unnoticed. Fortunately, most private schools train teachers to identify and address bullying, and also empower students to take responsibility for living in a welcoming and supportive environment. In fact, many students escape situations of bullying by switching schools and attending private school.
Terrorism used to seem like something that happened in other parts of the world, but in the past few decades, the United States has suffered from some major terrorist attacks and threats. Now, that fear is all too close to home. How can you keep your child safe? Many schools have installed metal detectors and hired more security. Some families have even considered enrolling at private schools as a means of protection. With many private schools offering gated communities, 24/7 security patrols, constant supervision, and considerable funding available to ensure that campuses are protected, the added cost of tuition may feel like a worthy investment.
Acts of terrorism may seem like an extreme concern for some, but there's another form of school violence that many parents are growing increasingly afraid of: school shootings. Two of the five deadliest shootings in American history took place at educational institutions. But, the silver lining from these tragedies is that they have forced schools to be more proactive in preventing shootings, and schools have become more likely to prepare for what to do should there be an active shooter situation. Active shooter drills are common at schools, where students and faculty are put into mock situations to simulate a shooter on campus. Each school develops its own protocols and safety precautions in order to help keep its community safe and protected.
Smoking, Drugs, and Drinking
Teens have always experimented, and for many, smoking, drugs, and drinking seems like no big deal, unfortunately. Today's children aren't just using cigarettes and beer. With marijuana becoming legalized in some states, vaping has become trendy, and high-end cocktails of drugs are easier to get than ever. Children today are becoming increasingly savvy about ways in which they can get high. And the media doesn't help, with endless movies and television shows portraying students partying and experimenting on a regular basis. Fortunately, tons of research and education have changed the way we parents view substance abuse. Many schools have taken a proactive approach as well to ensure that their students learn the consequences and dangers of substance abuse. Most private schools, in particular, have zero tolerance policies in place when it comes to substance abuse.
With the increasing competitiveness of college admission, students are starting to look for every opportunity to get ahead. Unfortunately for some students, that means cheating. Private schools tend to emphasize original thinking and writing as part of their requirements. That makes cheating harder to pull off. Besides, if you cheat in private school, you will be disciplined and possibly expelled. Your children quickly learn that cheating is unacceptable behavior.
Looking into the future, issues such as sustainability and the environment will probably be very high on most parents' list of concerns. How we guide and direct our children is a critical part of parenting. Choosing the right educational environment is a major part of that process.