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psparent

psparent Junior Member

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  • Prep school disciplinary policy re alerting colleges

    This is really a vent / cautionary tale for parents of not-perfect kids concerned about college admissions. In case you are not sure, if you have a kid, that kid is not perfect.

    Our son is a senior at a top boarding school. He absolutely loved the school and was a leader on campus. Sending him to boarding school was a huge sacrifice (financial and otherwise) but he really wanted it. He was a bi-varsity athlete and a progressed from prefect as a junior to RA his senior year. Last December we got a call from him - crying so hard he couldn't breathe - that he was in trouble. He had smoked pot off campus over the weekend, and a student who was caught for other infractions said he had provided pot to my son. The deans showed up in his dorm room, demanded a drug test, and searched his room (which was clean). However, since he knew that he would be drug tested he confessed.

    I can tell you that I never ever thought my son would do what he did and it was inexcusable. He was suspended and sent home. The humiliation was incredible. And deserved. For the rest of the year he is drug tested regularly and going to a counselor.

    The consequences have been pretty far reaching though. For something that happened 100 % off campus, for which the school's only evidence was a voluntarily given drug test, the school sends a letter to all colleges where a student has applied to say that the student was subject to disciplinary action. On the common ap they then need to write an explanation of what happened, taking full responsibility. He was also stripped of his RA status. Being an RA was a huge time commitment and a major extra curricular to be highlighted on his college applications - until it wasn't.

    Anyway, he had a pretty disappointing college acceptance season despite good grades, a near perfect ACT score, and very challenging curriculum, including Chinese.

    I can't be sure that the suspension and the loss of RA status led to being rejected from some colleges, but if it did, it was due to an action that would never lead to discipline at a non-boarding school. One of our goals as parents sending our kids to boarding school IS a good college placement. I was glad that the consequences of his infraction were major but I have serious concerns about the impact they had on his future.

    On a related note, one of the most common reasons for suspension is plagiarism. This does have a HUGE impact on college admissions. The issue at his school is that more than once a student has been found to have plagiarized when there are a few scattered phrases in a paper that match those (found using software) from another source - when it could easily have been inadvertent. Colleges don't care a ton about pot smoking on the weekend, but plagiarism can be devastating.

    And, final note, star athletes found doing much worse have somehow had their discipline overturned.

    4 years ago I was a smug mom 100 % certain that my kid would never ever do anything wrong and supporting the toughest possible discipline to keep out bad kids or kids who didn't adequately appreciate the opportunities of boarding school. Now having lived through this my attitude is quite different.
  • Re: Loomis or NMH

    My son is a junior at Loomis. It is extremely academically rigorous and while the staff are supportive I would hesitate to go there if I had a learning difficulty. I am amazed at the rigor, volume and intensity of the school work. Yes, there is help available but even top students are extremely busy and at times overwhelmed. It is a great school for a motivated student who wants to work hard, but for anyone who struggles with learning it would be very challenging. My older son has thrived but I would not consider sending my very smart younger son, who struggles with ADD and organization, there.
  • Re: Prep School Rape

    People send their kids to boarding school for a variety of reasons. I think it is worth exploring those before making a judgment. In our case we live in an isolated, rural area where the teens don't have much to do (and thus tend to make bad choices). Our local high school is good but not great and the nearest private high school is 45 minutes away. Until they can drive, the kids need a parent to take them to practices, events, and things during the afternoon - most have a SAH mom, which I am not. I have a son who is a real leash tugger/adventurer and very independent. We took him to an open house at a boarding school just to explore and he was absolutely enthralled by the experience. He then did the work to research schools, take the SATs, did interviews, etc. Because I do work we could afford it (though it is not easy). There are some elite, entitled types at school, but most of the boarding school kids I've met are amazing, smart, driven, caring, creative people. My son says that boarding school has made him a better person and I tend to agree.

    Sexual assaults happen in places other than boarding school; in fact, I only know of one other public example of a sexual assault at a boarding school and that was 5 years ago. And, boarding schools provide a ton of structure and oversight, more than high schools. There are adults living in the dorms, the kids have mandatory study hall, and they are kept incredibly busy with activities.
  • Re: Long time lurker. New poster. New BS dad.

    Loomis parent here. My son is a sophomore (going in to junior year). I love that school so much. Feel free to PM me with any questions.
  • Re: Boarding School - should I consider it for my dd?

    Getting into college is not a good reason to go to boarding school, but boarding school is a wonderful, growing experience for a certain type of kid. If possible, I'd suggest you pick a handful of schools and go out and visit with her, while letting her know that you aren't committing to anything. You may be surprised at what you experience. We went to a parent open house when my son was in 8th grade and all came away thinking how much better boarding school would fit his needs and personalities than anything near our home. And it has - it has truly made him a better, more responsible, harder working, more thoughtful, and more independent person. His day to day interactions and relationships with teachers, coaches, and other mentors has matured him in a way that being at home would not. So, I'd say you should keep an open mind, but you both need to be on board (no pun intended) if she were to go.