Boarding schools have long been revered as a optimal choice for children to receive the best education. Aside from behavioral boarding schools, these schools provide quality and maintain rigorous education standards. Students stay at these schools for extended periods of time and it does come at a hefty price tag. According to College Bound Network , the average boarding school in the United States is roughly $38,350 per year. Elite boarding schools can average upwards of $60,000 per yer.

These exclusive prep schools are designed to rear students for success and sustain their legendary status through their reputation. The benefits of attending some of these institutions include a lifetime of benefits: preferred college acceptance and an invaluable network, are just a few. While these schools surpass expectations of quality education and instilling structure, some students have a different experience.

Private institutions have the benefit of being just that—private. These schools handle matters in house, with little outside regulation or authority, whereas public schools are largely governed by outside forces. In recent years, many abuse stories have come to light regarding faculty and other students.

St. George’s School in Rhode Island is a noteworthy case of sex abuse, after 40 students came forward reporting that they had been assaulted by staff in the 1970’s and ’80s. Many other boarding schools have been the center of sex abuse allegations, that highlight potential dangers of this environment.

Students that are sent away to these boarding school have limited contact with parents and are under the constant supervision of strangers. It is often perceived that they are in good hands. Many parents rely on the integrity of the school’s reputation or their legacy status when deciding whether or not to send their child to a specific institution. The problem in this, is that these children are in fact, defensless.

Traditional boarding schools in the U.S. start accepting students that are 9th-12th grades, and some even accept students entering in the 6th grade. Behavioral boarding schools for ‘troubled teens’ can accept students as young as eight. Children are very impressionable and more susceptible to manipulation or abuse, especially when discipline is strictly enforced.

A group of students from the behavioral boarding school, CEDU Educational Services in California participated in a documentary, sharing their experiences of physical abuse at the hands of staff. Many of the students recall trying to warn their parents of the abuse, only to have their calls ended and their parents reassured by staff, that they are safe. The school has now been closed, but it had significant impacts on their lives.

In today’s society, abuse victims have slightly better chance of their stories being taken seriously than in other decades. Previous generations would have preferred to keep a lid on misconduct, to protect their status. Proven predatory teachers were just shuffled around to other schools with recommendations in hand.

The age old code of silence to protect the integrity of the institution is slowly coming to a head. Although, students have a better chance at improving their situations in the present day, parents and educators must do their due diligence. The promise of success is an invalid excuse to turn a blind eye to abuse.