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Alcohol and Drugs at Boarding School

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Replies to: Alcohol and Drugs at Boarding School

  • Sue22Sue22 Registered User Posts: 5,008 Senior Member
    One thing to check is the school's overnight checkout system. One of my kids' schools was very strict about this. Both the parent of the kid leaving campus and the parent of the kid to whose house they were going had to give permission for the visit by Wednesday (Thursday?) afternoon and if something seemed amiss the dean place a personal call to make sure everything was on the up and up. I once got one of those calls late at night when there was a mix-up about where my kid was going.

    One of my other kids was a day student at a boarding school. She had a party and while I got calls from parents checking on the rules I didn't get one from the school. At the end of the party I was very surprised to learn that some of the kids were expecting to stay over. While I didn't mind hosting them I was shocked that they were seemingly able to sign out without anyone making sure they were spending the night someplace safe and supervised. I contacted the Dean of Students the next day and the policy was tightened up shortly after.
  • chemmchimneychemmchimney Registered User Posts: 651 Member
    NMH requires both parents to sign off on student visits and weekend plans have to be set several days in advance but international students routinely rent rooms in Boston for certain breaks which is allowed. School rules do apply there - and NMH is pretty quick to expel- but I am certain things go on off campus there and at every school. Several schools have had big busts very close to graduation and NMH has special rules to mitigate the chance of that senior spring fever silliness too though they escape me now. Sanctuary exists and students sit on disciplinary committee which helps I think. Kids do not want to have to BS their own peers who likely know exactly what happened. My daughter was an RA and there were times she was asked by a student to speak on their behalf to the committee as the faculty trusted her and at least one time when she found she couldn’t defend the student.

    Having seen several schools work through this, I feel one of the most important things is that the rules are black and white and uniformly enforced. Once kids start to feel the system isn’t fair, they become less inclined to play by the rules.
  • GMC2918GMC2918 Registered User Posts: 910 Member
    I think that consistent enforcement is the key.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 17,583 Senior Member
    For overnight rules, like @sue22 mentions, my kids had to fill out a form and submit several days prior to the weekend to be off campus overnight. In addition, their advisor and I would be in email communication that week to ensure we knew about it, okayed it, and gave our approval to wherever they were going, whether home, a friend's house, or off to some MUN weekend outing or another locale school related or not. Their advisor or head of house had to sign off on the request before it was approved.
  • twinsmamatwinsmama Registered User Posts: 1,430 Senior Member
    edited January 28
    A couple of years ago, at a school concert, my daughter challenged me to pick out of a singing group the boy who was the biggest drug dealer on campus. (I guessed correctly, by the way, and he has since graduated.) The school has tough rules that are enforced stringently, but things still go on. And I hear that there is a LOT of vaping among the boys.

    However, I am pretty sure that alcohol and drug use is substantially less than at our public high school (where it is slightly less of a problem than at other area schools, including a local boarding school).
  • snowyowlgalsnowyowlgal Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    I go to an all-girls school and hardly anyone does drugs or alcohol, especially on campus because our policy is SUPER strict but at all of the all-boys schools we have dances with vaping, drugs and alcohol is a huge problem, especially at Salisbury. I frequently see pictures of them vaping in their rooms and even during study hall! Coming from a public school in California it actually shocked me to be at a school where weed and pills aren't the norm and here so many people vape instead of smoking weed. It's very weird.
  • RuralAmericaRuralAmerica Registered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    Other than a change in school name, my daughter could have written the above post by @snowyowlgal herself. It’s something she’s told me for two years now. The boys from the schools they have their dances with, frequently have pics on social media of vaping! Her school has a very strict honor code and a small handful of girls chance it, but most won’t chance it!
  • CTMom21CTMom21 Registered User Posts: 243 Junior Member
    On the one hand, I'm a bit surprised by the amount of pot-smoking (in particular; it seems the most common) that my son tells me about, and surprised how prevalent it is among freshmen, but on the other hand I guess it's not so surprising among a bunch of kids with access to money and who are away on their own for the first time. Many freshmen are repeats, so they've already been in high school and exposed to a lot. My son has been pretty sheltered and went to a very small middle school and has never experienced any of this, so it's just a huge difference for him. He also tells me about kids getting caught and in trouble, so there is some policing going on.

    It seems like it's a lot of kids who are from farther away, so their parents aren't around on campus and picking them up/dropping off and aren't ever in their dorm rooms.

    It may sound naïve, but I know my kid and I am comfortable that he hasn't gotten into any of this. He tells me it's offered to him and he says no, and in general he just stays away from the potheads. However, a bunch of kids got caught smoking pot a few nights ago, and DS told me that a lot of kids think that he snitched -- something he would definitely not do (one of the dorm parents was checking through the dorm to see who was back from mid-winter break). THAT concerns me. He says everything's fine, but I'm not even sure whom to talk to about it if there were a problem, without turning into a snitch.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 2,417 Senior Member
    I have not read the entire thread. It is difficult to name specific schools because all of them address the issue quickly.

    That being shared, if availability & access is a primary concern, then day students have more access.

    Our son went to 4 yrs of boarding school, very little other than occasional marijuana, but this was neither commonplace nor widespread. This was & is an academically intense environment.

    Over the past decade, two of the most prominent top 10 boarding schools have had issues, but they are larger schools with significant day enrollment.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 3,832 Senior Member
    ^^ I would note that you generally hear about "problems " when a school is dealing with them (as in, "3 kids just got expelled from xyz for abc.")

    And while I agree that day students definitely have more freedom and create permeability, tales I have heard about what groups of kids (from 100% boarding schools ) have done on weekend excursions to a "friend's house" have been quite hair-raising. (And no, they didn't get caught. )




  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 2,417 Senior Member
    Agree. But the incidents to which I was referring are well known & documented. Andover & Choate. But they do not affect every student & the schools deal with these matters swiftly.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 32,991 Super Moderator
    edited February 7
    Over the past decade, two of the most prominent top 10 boarding schools have had issues, but they are larger schools with significant day enrollment.
    Without getting into a debate on what the "top 10 boarding schools" are, I would posit that if you google the name of almost every boarding school + scandal, something will pop up over the last decade. I doubt the day population was the driver for Andover and Choate.

  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 2,417 Senior Member
    Well then you will get your eyes opened. These are well documented & easy to research.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 2,417 Senior Member
    Actually, I was reluctant to post names. One due to proclivity to censorship & the other to dealing with another very "vocal" & prolific poster. I don't want to make enemies, but if my child was considering boarding school this would a concern--at every school--that I as a parent would want addressed.
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