There are many differences between the structure of a private and public school. In the United States, public schools are a target for these incidents for a variety of reasons: The number of students in each public high school is generally far larger than the number in each of their private counterparts. The vast majority of all school-age children attend public schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 10% of U.S. students, or about 5 million, attend private schools. This compares to over 50 million public elementary and secondary school students. Students from low-income families and children enrolled in urban schools did not benefit more from private than they did from public school education. They also make it clear that the assumption that public schools are inferior to private schools is wrong.
Parents choose a private school for a number of reasons including religion, a desire for same-sex education, flexible curriculum, and smaller class sizes. As a result, the mere statistical probability inherently makes it far more likely that a shooting would happen at a public school. Public schools are required to offer education to everyone within a certain geographic area and also offer enrollment to those outside the area as ‘schools of choice.’ As a result, those students with learning, emotional and psychological issues are included in the student population.
Public schools are required to provide support services which many private schools wouldn’t even imagine doing so. Attempts to provide meaningful support by counselors, social workers, and school psychologists can have mixed results. Many parents welcome the third-party support and guidance which having such a support team offers. Other parents have great disbelief in the social sciences or feel that their children do not have the issues prescribed by these professionals. These households are less likely to implement the evaluations of the professionals.
Private schools are able to be highly selective in their admissions. Many private schools have a profile of both the perfect student and the perfect family for their enrollment guidelines. Athletic or academic prowess favors admission of students that can bring prestige and acclaim to an institution. But the best students are not the only reason someone is admitted to a private school. Unrelated and outside influences such as a family’s station in the community, ability to contribute to fund-raising and endowments, and family members who are alumni also can weigh into the decisions whether to enroll a student or not.
Public schools are paid for by local taxes while private schools cost an average of over $10,000 a school year. Because private schools are not limited by public funding, they often have access to different and more selective resources. This includes equipment for extracurricular activities as well as technology and other resources for the classroom. Because private schools are a service that is paid for by families or through scholarships, the administration can more easily dis-enroll students they think are a risk or have demonstrated behaviors that are undesirable. Parents and students have little recourse once a decision has been made.
While every private school says they want to have the best possible faculty available, private schools also tend to exhibit far less diversity and teachers have lower requirements in terms of education and experience. Public school teachers are required to be properly licensed while private school teachers typically don’t require any formal certification or education. As a result, it is possible and reasonable to have public-school teachers with education and experience in your area that surpasses that of your private school instructors. Concurrence with the school’s educational vision or operating philosophy has a great role in which faculty may be hired or maybe fired as other factors. While public school teachers are more difficult to remove due to tenure, private school teachers usually have annual contracts or are at-will employees.
Private schools often have a reputation for keeping strict standards for discipline and respect. This combined with a stronger sense of insular community and lower staff-to-student ratios make for the appearance of a safer school environment. When a troubled kid transfers into a private school for reasons such as a more structured environment, the school knows at the time of enrollment any problems which are in that student’s past. This means the private school has precedence to make a decision to disenroll.
Public schools’ facilities are designed to also be community gathering places – many more public meetings and off-hour events happen at public schools. So, there are far more points of access to them. Private schools are generally designed and built in such a way that there are fewer public points of access.
Families with sharply diverse political leanings and social groupings are far more apparent in public schools. The current wave of conservative anti-government sentiment has fed greater gun ownership within certain groups. So, while most of the shootings aren’t directly a result of demonstrating this anti-government sentiment, open and ready access to guns skews heavily toward parents with political and social leanings that favor gun owner’s rights and homogeneous social and personal beliefs.
After careful review and analysis, the question of how much sense it really makes to compare private and public-school performance when the populations of students are wildly different. Scientific evidence can only go so far when it comes to evaluating and documenting the quality of a private versus a public-school education. There will always be many variables such as socioeconomic status and access to education that also come into play.
As this relates to the idea of one being the safer choice, the ultimate perception of safety is simply a function of each type of school’s role in society. If Private schools were expected to fill the inclusionary mission and broad community role that public schools fill, then the statistical probability would definitely be higher for incidents of violence on the campuses of private schools.