I disagree. Let's just use private colleges vs. state schools as a comparison. Would anyone be offended if I suggested that a smaller, private college was safer for students and faculty than a larger, state university? Probably not. They'd say I was arguing the status quo. But when I suggest that private elementary and high schools are safer than public schools the hair on the back of their neck raises.
Statistics show that not only do private school students routinely score higher on achievement tests, earn more scholarships, and gain entrance to exclusive colleges and universities, but students at private schools feel safer and the campuses actually have less crime than do public schools. The three big reasons parents enroll their children in private school are usually come down to academics, safety, or religion. This article will focus on the second reason, "safety."
The National Center for Education Statistics is the resource for all statistics related to education, regardless of whether that education is public, private, or independent. Their publication "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012" provides to the public statistics relating to crime in schools. The document has 211 pages, but here is a quick summary of some of the statistics comparing private vs. public schools.
|National Center for Education Statistics Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012||Public||Private|
|Students reported being victimized||4%||2%|
|Students reported gangs present in their school||19%||2%|
|Students reported theft||3%||1%|
|Teachers reported being threatened with injury||8%||3%|
|Teachers reported being physically attacked||4%||2%|
|Students reported being called a hate-related word||9%||7%|
|Students reported seeing hate-related graffiti||30%||13%|
|Students reported bullying||28%||21%|
|Students reported being afraid of attack or harm||4%||2%|
Our reasons for choosing private school did not fall under the category of safety, but I cannot dispute clear statistics. Why do private schools have less crime? Perhaps it is because private schools usually have fewer students than public schools, which makes it easier to supervise the school population. Lower student-teacher ratios create greater accountability on campus. In addition, if the mission statement of the school includes ministry - as would be the case with a Catholic or Christian private school - the staff is far more likely to exhibit a strong faith in their private life as well as professionally.