For Parents

This section covers issues and concerns for parents of boarding school students. Explore corporal punishment, get expert advice on preventing hazing, and read first-hand accounts from parents. Learn what to do if things go wrong, see what boarding school students do in the summer, and get words of wisdom from a reluctant parent.
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Updated   July 26, 2017
Parent Perspective: Words of Wisdom for the Reluctant Parent
Learn about an initially reluctant parent's perspective on boarding school.
By Shari Bunks Geller, parent of Blair Academy alumni
 
I survey my son's room. High school graduation is just two weeks away.  College is no longer on the horizon, but our next step forward. I am looking to see what he will need to take with him and what he will leave behind.  Looking around his room I am keenly aware of how our worlds have expanded more than we could have imagined just four years ago when we applied Michael to high school. Boarding school was consciously not on our radar when we began our high school search.
 
At the start of his eighth grade year our son announced that would he like to apply to boarding school.  My husband and I had a serious conversation about boarding school as an option.  We both attended good public schools growing up.  We had decided against our public high school as an option for our four children and were committed to sending them to an independent day school.  While neither my husband nor I came from families with a boarding school culture, we had many friends whose children attended boarding schools across the country.  We had been frequently cautioned that once a child visits a boarding school all day schools will pale in comparison. The facilities, the campus and the notion of a different level of independence are very alluring to a fourteen year old.  Although our conversation was serious, we quickly agreed that we would not consider boarding school.
 
We
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Updated   February 17, 2016 |
What If Things Go Wrong?
Boarding schools have a reputation for being tough academically and from a discipline point of view. But that's not all they are.

You are thinking about boarding school. But you've heard that the work is tough. Furthermore, they will expel you in a heartbeat if you are caught doing anything seriously wrong. Is this true? Is that the way boarding schools actually work? Let's look at the facts.

The academic work is difficult.

There's no escaping the truth about academics in private school. Academics are the reason a private school exists in the first place. The academic standards are high. There is a lot of homework. There are a lot of subjects and a lot of ground to cover in every class. Sometimes the lessons are hard to understand. Just remember whenever you feel discouraged that you were admitted to the school because it felt you could do the academic work involved. The school based its decision on your academic transcripts and your admissions test scores.

The difference between taking on challenging work in a boarding school versus a public school simply is that nobody in the boarding school is going to let you sink. Why? Well, for one, the classes are small. For example, your teacher will know the instant that you are having problems grasping a math concept. You will not be humiliated in front of your peers. If you don't believe me, read the codes of conduct for any boarding school and see just how seriously they take community spirit and concern for all members of the school community. Teaching their students to be tolerant and to respect others is part

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Updated   June 06, 2016 |
Dr. Hank Nuwer on Hazing
We asked Dr. Hank Nuwer,a nationally recognized authority on the subject of hazing, to weigh in with his views.
We parents always worry about what goes on when we are not around to supervise our children. We all know that getting into mischief is part of growing up. Inevitably, it is going to happen. But we also want to know that there are well-known limits and accepted standards of behavior especially when we send our children off to boarding school. With that premise in mind, you and I are going to take a look at an issue which was much more commonplace years ago than it is now. The following video outlines what hazing involves.
Hazing is a practice which used to be rampant in schools and organizations just about everywhere. It seemed to be part of our fraternal and educational culture. Fortunately, in these enlightened times in which blogging and instant messaging make it extremely difficult to keep bad news out of the public eye, hazing has all but disappeared in boarding schools. And that is a positive turn of events.
 
We asked Dr. Hank Nuwer, a nationally recognized authority on hazing, to weigh in on the subject. As Dr. Nuwer makes clear, boarding schools are indeed virtually free of hazing. That's because boarding schools insist on a high standard of supervision and community life designed to protect their students from any kind of harm. Most schools have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to hazing. It is one more reason why boarding schools are safe schools. They take
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