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Delinquency at boarding schools

(29 Posts)
Clairey471 Tue 14-Mar-17 18:19:54

Are any parents having problems with delinquency in at boarding schools? Our 14 year old daughter is in her first year at a mixed, predominantly boys boarding school. So far, she and the other girls have been caught drinking and smoking. They've taken drugs at parties and they have regularly deceived both school and parents to attend parties in London with children in the years above. 40 of them were caught trying doing DIY tattoos in the school with shared needles. They've regularly been disobedient and unruly around the school and they aren't paying attention to their school work. If this was just our daughter, it would be one thing but it seems to be a gang of girls misbehaving together and egging each other on. We don't know whether to pull her out of the school or whether we'll just see the same behaviour elsewhere...Anyone with similar experience?

Stitchosaurus Tue 14-Mar-17 18:39:30

not as a parent, but as a child at boarding school - yep, that all sounds very familiar! There is a pack mentality and we all egged each other on. I am now a productive member of society so all turned out well in the end but boarding school is very Lord of the Flies in my experience.

Oscha Tue 14-Mar-17 18:51:54

I worked in boarding schools for years. Yes, lots of those things happen at school and at home. BUT in the 8 years I was at my last school, there was one incident of drugs on campus (that we know of). At my previous school, 1 in 5 years. For all of that to have already happened a term and a half in, is pretty horrifying.

OrlandoTheCat Tue 14-Mar-17 18:54:38

I was at an all girls boarding school in the 90s. This degree of delinquency surprises me. Drinking and smoking is par for the course. but the other stuff seems a bit OTT.
How on earth do they get out to go to these parties in London?? At 14?!?

OrlandoTheCat Tue 14-Mar-17 18:55:18

It would've been really difficult - actually impossible - for us to go out to London parties with older children.

BertrandRussell Tue 14-Mar-17 18:57:13

I would want her at home under my eye if this is true.

Are you sure your dd isn't spinning you yarns?

zzzzz Tue 14-Mar-17 18:59:16

Bring her home and ask for you ££££s backangry.

LIZS Tue 14-Mar-17 18:59:20

There are organised under 18 parties in London which some schools allow pupils to attend, no underage drinking etc though. Tbh most schools now have zero tolerance so your account sounds exaggerated.

FenellaMaxwellsPony Tue 14-Mar-17 19:05:06

Are you sure she hasn't just been watching too much stuff trinians and is stringing you along? It seems very unlikely to get delinquency to this degree.

Want2bSupermum Tue 14-Mar-17 19:22:23

This was never allowed in my boarding school. We would not have dared as our parents would have killed us.

Pull her out, she can go to the local school until next term.

Clairey471 Tue 14-Mar-17 20:17:41

She ran away up to London with a friend who was staying on exeat, taking the 2320 train. They walked through the woods to the station. They waited until everyone at home was asleep. We've stopped pocket money and switched off her phone. The parties are at friends' houses. Lots of alcohol around - even if the parents stop it, they smuggle it in. The drugs were at one such party. I'm the step mum so I don't have much control. Their father is strict and fair but their mother is very laissez faire.

OrlandoTheCat Tue 14-Mar-17 21:52:20

So the escaping to parties happened on exeat and not from the school? In which case it's not the school's responsibility surely?

To be honest, if this was my DD and I was paying a lot of money for her education and pastoral care, and if there is delinquency to this degree, I'd remove her like a shot!

Clairey471 Tue 14-Mar-17 22:13:59

I think schools should be tougher in terms of standards they require of parents - i.e. Don't throw parties serving alcohol to under age children. Don't let 6th formed have parties where younger children are invited. And be stricter with them when they are at my day children could get into trouble for misbehaviour in the holidays if it was brought to the school's attention...

OrlandoTheCat Tue 14-Mar-17 22:31:25

what I meant was, if it happened on exeat, from home, then only the parents/carers at home can be expected to control behaviour and so on. The school can't be expected to control it.
Altho, yes, there ought to be repercussions at school for serious delinquency which occurs elsewhere on the parents' watch...

zzzzz Tue 14-Mar-17 22:38:26

This is a parenting problem not a school problem, surely?

Brokenbiscuit Tue 14-Mar-17 22:50:40

I think this is quite common tbh. A lot of my university friends were educated in the boarding system and I was shocked at their accounts of what went on. I think drugs can be a significant issue when kids have plenty of money but no parental supervision!

Want2bSupermum Wed 15-Mar-17 00:08:12

The parents set the tone that the school follows. Based on what you have been told your DD probably doesn't feel comfortable with what is going on and knows she is in a bad group.

I would switch her ASAP. The school I went to through end of 5th year wasn't very strict at all because they needed parents paying fees to stay open. When I switched for 6th form the new school was extremely strict. Parents would complain and they would kindly offer that their DC attend somewhere with a different approach to pastoral care.

When I look back the drug taking was bad but the most shocking part was the sex. Girls as young as 12 were doing all sorts with local boys who were all a bit older (over 16). I was happy to not fit in and hang out with others like me. We had our own thing going on and it never involved drugs or sex.

pasanda Wed 15-Mar-17 09:21:26

See, this is why i would never send my dc to boarding school. I know that this sort of thing can happen at home when dc go to state school, but at least they have a parent around to watch and supervise. I would hate to leave all that parenting to a school.

If she was my dd, she would be out like a shot and given some decent boundaries and parenting.

OrlandoTheCat Wed 15-Mar-17 10:22:37

Pasanda Not all boarding schools are so apparently lax!! It was very rare when I was at school for so much bad behaviour to go on. If anything, the behaviour sounded worse during the holidays when the children were at home!!

Want2bSupermum Wed 15-Mar-17 11:48:42

Oh and the drugs issue was common at 2nd tier schools. The 'hothouses were all very strict and for boarding I think 'hothouse' is a good way to go.

This is why I wouldn't send every child to board. DD1 has the personality for it but DS would have a terrible time.

Otherpeoplesteens Wed 15-Mar-17 11:51:07

DP, MIL, and I have between us over 80 years' involvement with boarding schools as pupils, parents, teacher, non-teaching visiting staff, alumni and governor. I clicked on this link thinking you had a problem with a school.

You don't. You have described a problem with parenting.

There's only so far that a boarding school can be distanced from the norms of the rest of society. Experimentation with drinking and smoking doesn't scream "delinquency". On the contrary, it strikes me as rather normal - boarding school or otherwise - if a little disappointing. Disobedience and unruliness, and not paying attention to schoolwork? At 14? Who'ddathunkit?

As for sneaking off to parties from home, whilst on Exeat, I just cannot fathom how you see that as the school's responsibility and not the parents. No doubt if the school put them all in detention for their Exeat shenanigans you'd be up in arms about the intrusion into their home lives as well.

pilotswife Wed 15-Mar-17 12:07:12

Surely Otherpeoplesteens the school has a problem with its culture and supervision if the children are smoking and drinking and generally disrespectful of authority.
A pack mentality can easily form within boarding schools unless there is strong leadership. Yes, you get poorly or non parented kids in boarding schools but surely the staff are skilled to provide the support and guidance these children need ?

Otherpeoplesteens Wed 15-Mar-17 12:22:16

pilotswife Any boarding school, regardless of size or culture, is going to come up against 14 year olds rebelling against authority at some point, regardless of the wider culture and leadership. In some ways good leadership and culture almost encourages it - it's what adolescents do as part of the reprogramming of their brains into adult ones, explored very well on various threads in this board. They can't push back against their parents in the same way model day-pupils turn into monsters when they get home after school, so of course it presents as a discipline problem.

It's also worth pointing out that these kids are being deliberately encouraged in critical thinking to question perceived wisdom in their academic studies; unfortunately it can rub off elsewhere. It's just one of those things that's collateral to the wider picture.

corythatwas Wed 15-Mar-17 15:59:14

Clairey471 Tue 14-Mar-17 22:13:59
"I think schools should be tougher in terms of standards they require of parents - i.e. Don't throw parties serving alcohol to under age children. Don't let 6th formed have parties where younger children are invited."

If your children live at home and attend state school, you will not be able to control what other parents do at parties they organise. What you will be able to control, however, is which parties your dc attend and at what time you pick them up. That is the advantage of keeping them at home; not that you can change what is going on in the outside world but that you can turn up in the doorway and say "right, dd, time to come home now". Also that they get used to the idea that you will be waiting up for them and inspecting their general state of sobriety.

Otherpeoplesteens Wed 15-Mar-17 16:25:53

There is absolutely no way that a boarding school would allow a child under its care to attend a house party without parental consent. They wouldn't have allowed it 25 years ago before email and other modern communication, before "safeguarding" was a whole cottage industry of its own, and they certainly wouldn't allow it now.

These wild parties organised off-site by parents or sixth formers have nothing to do with the school!

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