Oh boy! Another study!! This one looked at students in secondary schools to examine how the size of the school affects the emotional health of students. So, what did the researchers find?
…all else being equal, male students in small middle schools and high schools, both public and private, are almost four times as likely to attempt suicide than those at larger schools. They also have a higher incidence of depression.
Boys at private religious schools are nearly twice as likely as others to bring a gun to school or threaten to use it; girls at religious schools are three times as likely to do the same.
For larger private, non-religious schools, the findings are generally positive. They have lower rates of suicide attempts and weapons use than comparably sized public schools, and similar depression rates.
As with almost all media reports of studies, the data being interpreted is not part of the story (that would be too complicated for “normal” people) and, as I’ve noted before, you also need to look at who’s paying for the study before you buy into the findings. Of course, there are always people quoted in the story who challenge the findings, mostly based on their personal anectdotes. This particular opposing view makes as much sense as anything.
"There’s not a best school for every kid," she says [Myra McGovern representing the National Association of Independent Schools]. "There’s a best school for an individual, but that might be the worst school for another individual."
The trick, of course, is finding that school.