Why Boarding Schools Are Good for Teenage Boys

Teenage boys will not be freed from the bog they are immured in by new-fangled modifications and medications, but by old-fashioned reason and remedies. Boys today suffer from despondency, lack of direction, and a masculine identity crisis, overwhelmed as they are by widespread feminization, relativism, pornography, and cultural collapse. The quandary is rooted in a neglect of male nature, and a return to real attentiveness is requisite before there can be any renewal in male character.

Meanwhile, boys remain under siege. They live virtual lives. They underachieve and underperform. They don’t go to college. The men they become are often crippled by passivity and insipidity, cheating church and country of priests, fathers, laborers, and leaders. One solution lies in making education lively enough to bring boys back to life. A revival of Catholic boarding schools for high-school age boys is central to this solution, for it allows life and education to be liturgical, imparting the greatest impetus, the truest direction, and the richest culture—which is the foundation of a happy life.

What Makes a Boarding School Good?
The field of education is thirsty for the wisdom of tradition. What is required is not necessarily holding to particular historical forms, but recovering what is essential in historical forms and returning to eternal principles. In popular culture, there is a polemic against tradition and authority, often cloaked in shrewd rhetoric or sheer repetition, but the mantra is communicated loud and clear. Catholics must rise to defend the wisdom of tradition and show its relevance, beauty, and vitality. One arena for this restoration is the lost tradition and wisdom of the boarding school.

The idea of a boarding school does not simply presume resident students. Neither does it presume a reformatory for juvenile delinquents. Good boarding schools lead students in an ordered rule of life. If teenage boys are to be rescued from apathy, cynicism, and mediocrity, the following characteristics are indispensible:

  • Catholic moral, intellectual, and liturgical tradition
  • classical education with poetry, music, the imaginative arts, and natural sciences
  • total abstinence from computers, cell phones, iPods, iPads, television, etc.
  • competitive athletic programs involving contact sports
  • facilities that are simple and Spartan in a rural setting
  • Benedictine balance of daily prayers and daily chores
  • small student body and a faculty of friends

If a renaissance in Catholic education is to take root and flourish, the necessity of these principles have to be acknowledged. A blind and reactive insistence on rationalist fundamentalism may be attractive in the short term, but will ultimately lead to failure because it does not address what Scripture calls the heart, the deepest spring of reason and desire. A boarding school that keeps these precepts can open the shut-up hearts of boys to the realms of wonder and wisdom in a familial yet formal arena geared towards providing teaching moments in the structure of every hour of every day. Within this structure is the potential for Catholic culture—a sense of community and the charity, service, and sacrifice that flow from living and learning with others.

Why is Boarding School Good for Boys?
Boys need nourishing culture. They need retreat. They need pilgrimage. They need to have and share an intense experience of the good in order to be moved by the good. A good boarding school responds directly to the maladies of modern boyhood, creating a lively culture and educating as a way of life. Certainly, parents are the primary educators and the home and family provide his initial cultural formation. A boarding school cannot replace this, but it can complement and complete it. When boys become adolescents they are much more aware of, and in need of, the social life of their peers.

There is a long-standing tradition in schooling that favors single-sex education. It is a model that was accepted by societies for centuries and preferred by many saintly educators. Boys and girls live and learn better when they are educated separately, especially once they reach adolescence. Besides that they are different and deserve different approaches, pacing, and even different courses of study, boys and girls, when educated together, greatly distract one another. This is especially true for boys. Such distraction—whether from girls, entertainment technology, or popular and pernicious media—retards education, which strives to build up good habits through continual and concentrated engagement. Boarding schools can provide such continuity because they render education a continuous, focused, habit-forming thing.

A boarding school rooted in the Catholic, classical mode of learning is good for boys damaged by the utilitarian ugliness of modernity because it allows for withdrawal from the prevailing culture into a traditional culture reinforced by peers. True masculine education educates the whole man, and, to do this effectively, asceticism is required—a withdrawal from the rampant impediments to growth and health. A boarding school provides a wholesome, safe “micro-culture” in which boys reinforce each other in virtuous formation, preparing to enter the wider culture outside. There is a need for the positivity that such intensive, immersive education provides. Boys can only grow and thrive when they are given high ideals and the hope that they can bring these ideals into being in their world, despite the careerism and sarcastic nihilism of the current culture.

Boarding schools should focus on discipline that blends the militaristic and the monastic, thus addressing the issues that boys vie with most. If boys lack drive, give them independence and responsibility. If boys are isolated and neglected, let them taste the camaraderie of community through athletics and shared activities. Boys can only profit by leaving behind large coed classes and learning in a concentrated male environment where they are free to be masculine, and where their masculinity is addressed and cultivated. The common struggle between the rigor of school and the relaxation of home disappears at boarding school, for school and home become a single entity, focused on enacting the good. Boarding schools are intrinsically appropriate for boys since the male trajectory involves breaking away from home to search for adventure and occupation—a trajectory often impeded by the unnatural, defeatist influences of the world.

How is Boarding School Liturgical?
The rhythms of a rightly ordered Catholic boarding school are liturgical because they frame out and measure the interplay of God and man, body and soul, mind and heart. The liturgy is the purpose of Christian life made present in time—it is participation on earth in the life of the blessed. The end of education is to free men from the seeming urgency and finality of worldly ends so that they may pursue beatitude. Thus the liturgy is intimately connected to education. It has an irreplaceable centrality in a school since only the liturgy can open the school to the divine world, thus protecting it from the everyday world that continually threatens.

The liturgy is a school of praise. Education aims to open students’ eyes to the True, Good, and Beautiful not as lifeless subjects in a textbook, but as objects worthy of praise. The environment where such habits can be formed and fostered is best achieved in a boarding school where life can be liturgical: a life of praise and participation, providing direct and decisive remedy against the lethargy so prevalent among teenage boys.

A boarding school loses power in pedagogy, however, without strong spiritual leadership built upon liturgy and the sacraments. One of the main points of a Catholic boys’ boarding school is to allow Holy Orders to sound its call. Key to this is the role of a priest. Boys need a model they admire and want to emulate, presenting the priesthood as essential and meaningful. No boy aspires to be an ineffectual nice guy. In a boarding school, the example of the chaplain is crucial. A virile chaplain dedicated to God and the good of others can plant seeds that come to fruition as a boy matures.

Boarding schools that are rigorous, vigorous, and devoted to Catholic excellence and cultural enjoyment draw boys to maturity—an important goal in any boy’s education when the prevalent plague is a refusal to grow up. Boarding schools offer lost boys the chance to find themselves by revealing who they are—their strengths, their weaknesses, their place in a community of friends, and their role in the liturgy of eternal life unfolding in time. Ultimately, teenage boys respond well to challenge and competition, to facing fears and rejoicing in achievement with friends, and boarding schools provide this as no other school can in a secure environment. In the end, boarding schools are better for most boys because they are hard; and since they are hard, they make boys happy—which is the secret of any real education.

Editor’s note: In the image above is a rugby match between Llandover College and Christ College, Brecon, Wales in 1965. (Photo credit: Wales News Service)

Sean Fitzpatrick

By

Sean Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. He lives in Scranton, PA with his wife and family of four.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    All of this is true, however…. $$$. I would love to have been able to offer any of my eight sons the advantages outlined here, but boarding schools have always been (and are even more so now) for the wealthy and very upper middle class.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      If the fees of my old English boarding school are anything to go by, they are really quite modest – £7,558 pa or $11,412 for ages 11-13 and £9,742 or $14,710 for ages 13-18.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        That’s modest? Whew! I would have had to sell a few kids to put even one in school at those prices…

        • STF

          Our boarding school offers need-based financial assistance. We are more concerned with culture than cash. When first things are put first, God often takes care of the rest.

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            I appreciate your devotion to the boys, and to the Church. I had no luck, many years ago, getting my oldest son into the previous school, under the previous headmaster. My sister (Eileen Hanisch) says good things about your school.

    • gespin3549

      Unfortunately, it does take money to make these things work unless one is willing to allow for government interference and meddling via federal monies. But, there ARE authentic Catholic boys boarding schools out there which are extremely inexpensive as the host organization pays for the majority of the cost.

      • Otto

        School debt today is notoriously high. The majority of college graduates are debtors. So, I’m very curious how and where this happens, and since you mentioned it, what exactly “extremelyn inexpensive” mean? I suspect this particular boys school is around $14k or more, which means $56k plus by the time one child graduates and moves on to college. Multiply that number by two, three or more, and it suddenly doesn’t sound so inexpensive.

        • gespin3549

          Otto, if you have kids of age and are looking for a truly authentic Roman Catholic boys boarding school, which I can almost guarantee you can afford, even if you’re living at the poverty level, I have the place for you if you’d like to explore the possibility. Pls email me at gespin3549 AT gmail DOT com

  • KevinToTheHeights

    Hey Sean, how’s the pedophile situation up in Scranton these days?

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    Good luck with saving boys from Feminazis and their girlie-man lackeys who rule the sphere of education and intrinsically hate masculinity.. I wouldn’t want the challenge.

    • Veritas

      “…saving boys from Feminazis and their girlie-man lackeys who rule the sphere of education…”

      Correct, correct, correct. All the more reason that we must step up to the challenge.

  • gespin3549

    Excellent piece! Will be reposting everywhere!

  • This line stands out in the article for me: “..withdrawal from the prevailing culture into a traditional culture reinforced by peers…” Think of the work of Jesus and of every single saint. Isn’t this in some larger sense always the strategy that works?

  • Still trying to convince the wife to send our boys to Gregory the Great. I think it would be a blessing.

  • anon

    Yes, for many boys this is better than what they have now, but I’m a mother. At what age do you think this ideal setting you’ve described is worth more to my boys than my daily presence? Or to be here in the home on nights and weekends and days off, to fill their role as older brothers to younger siblings? No, I won’t follow my sons to college to tuck them into bed each night, but my teens attend a pretty good school and they talk with us at night about their days, and I like to think that’s one of my main roles, to be here as a sounding board, to help them keep perspective, to just keep loving them day in day out, and also to help them understand their role in the family, too. They should be here to mow and wash cars and teach younger siblings all kinds of things while we are out earning the $ that supports us. Summer camps can also give them a taste of the life you describe.

  • “Why Boarding Schools Are Good for RICH Teenage Boys”

    Fixed for you. Or not, because not being raised by own parents in parental household is evil.

    • A. I. Reeves

      Parents must really hate their children if they want to send them out of the home for the better part of a decade, and consign them to strangers who often enough are sexually perverse.

  • James

    I’m a bit surprised that a publication that is so against homosexuality could be so supportive of boarding schools for teenage boys.

    • Atilla The Possum

      What are you trying to say here?

      • James

        I’m saying read what C.S. Lewis had to say about boys boarding schools

        • Augustus

          The English upper classes have an infamous reputation for buggery–a sure sign of cultural decadence. But that does not mean that EVERY boarding house EVERYWHERE is like that. Do try to avoid hyperbolic statements if you intend to be taken seriously.

          • Atilla The Possum

            … and that is precisely why I asked James what he was trying to say in his previous post.

        • Atilla The Possum

          Funny, I thought you were going to quote Thomas Hughes (Tom Brown’s Schooldays) … or even someone from real life!
          I’m sure C. S. Lewis is not the only person to have spent time in boarding school; there are others, you know, who have diverse views on their experiences.

  • Veritas

    Sean is correct about many things here.

    Having taught in Catholic co-ed school three years, Catholic boys school ten years, and now the public school system twenty years, I can agree with him. He is correct about distractions for both boys and girls in a coeducational environment. While not completely unsolvable in coeducational systems, I have observed how much easier it is to get better participation and focus from the students when boys don’t feel nervous about answering, asking, or public speaking in the classroom. It’s a non-issue in single sex schools.

    Boys crave competition. For the most part, girls don’t. Just watch an athletic event. While watching girls play, I often see them laughing during the competition when two kids bump into each other; boys take it more seriously and don’t find humor in the arena the way the girls do. In the public school classroom, the group work and cooperative learning schemes–while sometimes beneficial–are not entirely good for students who prefer competitiveness. If cooperative learning is suitable to either of the genders, especially in mathematics, it favors the girls.

    It is no coincidence that these educational trends are present in public education today.

    Just my own theory, and I could be wrong, but I do think the ideas in public schooling, unlike those Sean discusses in the boarding school, do in fact tend to diminish aggression in males. What’s the purpose? Is it some lofty dream of disarming America? Or is it a pipe dream that the elimination of academic competition will someday eliminate the need to fight wars?

    • Veritas

      Also, public school dress codes are laughable. When the females dress inappropriately, the boys will have difficulty focusing. The response to that observation might be, “There’s something wrong with the boy and not the way the female is dressing” (say, yoga pants without a long enough top or sweater to cover the hips).

      Huh? There’s something wrong with the boys? There is no real dress code. The dress code casualties are the baseball caps, and occasionally a tube top or spaghetti straps. In fact, there are more busts for baring shoulders than painted on pants.

  • Katherine

    I agree with the author’s assessment of problems that plague boys; yet. I question his solution. If the English aristocracy is any indication, boys’ schools leave much to be desired. Then there are the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi boarding schools which are brain-washing cults.

    I think the solution resides with fathers. I homeschool my children, four of them boys (two of them are in their 20’s now). My husband works at home and has always been very involved with our children, especially the boys. He has helped with their education, especially in the teen years. He was never one of those fathers who finishes work and expects to be left alone to relax and vegetate in front of the TV with sports for the rest of the evening. He has read aloud to the children into their teenage years (something they older kids remember fondly). We are not a sports family – by temperment and choice – but my husband has found many “manly” ways of being together with the boys and teaching responsibility and maturity – singing in the parish choir, playing music,gardening, chopping wood, caring for farm animals, repairing our home. My husband has always been the spiritual leader of our home, leading prayers and setting the example of being a serious Catholic. The boys did not get the impression, prevalent in American, the religion is for women. We would not have considered sending our sons to boarding school because they would have missed out on being formed by their father and developing a strong relationship with him.

    Maybe boarding school is the solution for families without a father or with an absent or non-engaged father. However, wouldn’t it be better just to drive it home to men that they need to take their roles as fathers much more seriously, that their eternal salvation and that of their children might depend on it?

    • Veritas

      The all-boys Catholic high school where I once worked has formation programs for grades 9-12, and porn usage is one of the items on the mission statement. Incidentally, they also have formation programs for parents. I heard a story once when I worked there that the founder of these formation programs was coaching his team one day and pulled the dads aside for not spending enough time with their sons. Yes, they were there watching practice; but he still bawled them out. This happened in the 70’s or early 80’s. He saw what was coming. He’s no chauvinist either, even though some people thought so. How many of us dads are acting like dads? This particular educator was that for many who are now men today.

      We must first know there is a problem, what exactly it is, and then take measures to solve it. This man was ahead of his time.

  • Brian O’Leary

    This article makes some very good points. I wouldn’t tend to agree that boarding schools promote masculinity, however, my experience of them is of promoting effeminacy and tolerating homosexuality among young teenage boys. For those reasons I wouldn’t like to send my children to a boarding school.

    • STF

      Thank you for your comment, Mr. O’Leary.

      A boarding school that tolerates the things you mention is not a good boarding school. The model outlined here actively seeks and promotes the good. People should not just send their sons to boarding school – they should send their sons to good boarding schools.

    • Kate

      I think people idealize boarding schools, the same way the military is idealized (or idolized) in this country. I’ve heard so many parents talk about encouraging their sons to joint the military because it will “make a man out of them.” If your son is not already mature, the military is the last place to send him. Many young men say they were first introduced to pornography (especially movies) and drug use in the military. And the military is not an men-only club anymore, which raises a whole other set of problems. Just because something appears “masculine” on the outside does not mean it truly develops men of moral integrity.

      • Not to mention that the recruits are dehumanized, lest they question the orders to commit war crimes left and right.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          I disagree with this statement. Although I do not necessarily recommend military life (after 21 years in the military myself) it is certainly not because of any “war crime mentality.” Soldiers are not trained to obey orders unquestioningly. Considerable time and effort goes into delineating lines of responsibility and legal issues in war fighting. It is rather the generally immoral tone of a male/female/gay military, combined with a growing hostility to Christianity, that makes the military untenable as a choice for most young people.

        • Kate

          Agree completely.

      • Brian O’Leary

        Yes, I think first and foremost a boy’s masculinity must come from role models within the home. Obviously, as the author of this article has pointed out, the school environment also plays an extremely important role . But without that solid foundation laid in the home, the school – or the military as you’ve mentioned – should not be depended upon to inculcate the values which the parents should have already passed on to their children.

  • Katherine

    While girls are a great distraction to boys in the typical co-ed high school, that does not mean we have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, shielding teenage boys from the company of teenage females. I think my boys have benefited greatly from spending their teenage years with their teenage sisters and cousins; girl aren’t quite the inexplicable mystery to them they might have been. And I think that young women who have brothers understand men better (or at least aren’t quite as shocked by male behavior in their husbands). Women (properly raised) have a civilizing effect on men and generally make them strive to be better. My husband couldn’t wait to get out of his all male dorm after college graduation; he was so tired of living with other men and stinky gym shoes (among other things). The camaraderie is thrilling at first, but it soon gets old 24/7. I think it is also important that a young man see how a man should treat a woman, which should be exemplified in how his father treats his mother every day, year in and year out. You can give all the book theory you want, but nothing works as well as example. Many of the modern problems that Mr. Fitzpatrick mentions exist because many young men lack fathers in their lives. A great school (with great male mentors) might go a long way to helping some of these boys, but it is still not a substitute for a good father.

    • Veritas

      I agree. It should not be forced and it is not for some, including my brother in law who is still upset about his social retardation, he claims.
      Many of the students and alumni I met at the all boys high school loved their school, their experience and continued get-togethers. It takes a few unique personalities and a TRADITION to successfully pull it off.

    • Joseph

      I agree completely. I attended an all-boys Catholic high school and hated it. There was no opportunity for interaction with girls, except theater, which most boys did not do. I also disliked hallways that smelled like dirty gym socks and BO. Aside from that, boys act like pigs where there are no girls to keep a lid on their behavior. I have a good father and two brothers, so I got all the brotherhood and male bonding I needed at home. All day/every day at school was just too much, and I ended up going to college with the social skills of a 13-year old. I was so jealous of boys who went to public school and got to be around girls all the time, and therefore had some understanding of them.

  • Ewart Dunlop

    As a teenager who attends an all-boys Catholic high school,
    I agree all high schools should be all-boys and all-girls. Academics, Faith,
    and Discipline should be the corner stone of all adolescent formation. There
    are some problems, however, with the perimeters set forth by the author.

    First, while classical education certainly do have many excellent qualities to
    it, solely relying upon it to form the entirety of young men’s academic
    training, Should every teenage boy learn Latin, logic, literature, and music?
    Certainly! However, there is so much more than only classical culture to
    examine.

    Second, total abstinence from technology robs youth of the best resources
    available for increasing their knowledge and their faith. Some of my greatest
    resources for learning about Catholicism are through technology. Well-regulated
    usage of technology does not hurt; it can help the educational process greatly.

    Third, the relevance of “facilities that are simple and Spartan” to
    providing boys with the best education possible is not incredible obvious.
    Austereness creates a lack of that most essential element of every person’s
    life, beauty. School facilities should create an atmosphere of splendor, one that
    not only satisfies our internal longing for aesthetic fulfillment, but one that
    encourages pupils to take care of and make the world a more beautiful place by
    their actions.

    I do maintain however the buy and large truth of the article from a Catholic
    teenager’s perspective. We do “need nourishing culture”.

    I do feel however that surely there must be another way to accomplish these
    noble goals of formation without sending young men away from their families and
    lives at such a crucial time in their lives, without denying them the earliest
    tastes of chaste love, without sheltering them from the culture war going on in
    the world and preparing them with firsthand experience. How in other words can
    you impose a complete “Catholic moral, intellectual, and liturgical tradition”
    with a “Benedictine balance of daily prayers and daily chores” on a traditional
    Catholic-style education without causing the above mentioned negative effects?

    • Jude

      Oh my goodness! There are too many grammatical errors in this comment to list. Please go back and review what you have written and make the necessary corrections. The second paragraph is a disaster. It would be a good idea to use a reference such as the Harbrace College Handbook.
      (classical education does, not do; by and large, not buy and large; incredibly obvious, not incredible obvious)

      • Ewart Dunlop

        I have edited my post for the clarity of future readers.

        I apologize to all who read and were subsequently confused by internet prose. Typing short essays on very small screens can have that unfortunate side effect.

  • Catholic pilgrim

    I think many parents here are too defensive about the idea of boarding schools, almost as if Sean is calling for boys to be snatched away from households. Some raised good points (like the role of fathers) but most of the other comments are based on defensive emotions (instead of facts & logic). I, for one, would’ve loved to have gone to an authentically Catholic boarding school, like St. Gregory’s.
    Headmaster Sean Fitzpatrick, keep up your good work (which is sorely needed in American Catholic culture). The only way one can change cultures for good is by introducing ideas like yours. (And keep up offering financial aid to families in need.)

  • John Hinshaw

    Do we really need to return to boarding schools to address the obvious problems in our education system? Co-education is the unspoken, massive failure of education in America. If we would simply educate the girls and boys separately, we would be on our way to solving the problem. Both solutions will be attacked as “discrimination” and “hate”. It is time to stand up

  • William Murphy

    The author understandably omits the obvious pitfall of single-sex boarding schools – paedophilia. OK, as I live in England this is the cliched expectation of singe male teachers at boys’ schools. But our Benedictine establishments (Ampleforth, Douai, Ealing Abbey and several others) have a grim track record in sexual abuse, cover ups and transferring suspect teachers from one establishment to another. It will take decades of good behaviour and good practice in expelling the deviants before any sane parent would feel comfortable about entrusting their children to such schools.

    • A. I. Reeves

      Exactly, exactly, William Murphy. Even the leftist journalist Cyril Connolly (no friend of the Catholic Church) had to admit – as early as 1938 – that England’s boarding-school system had rendered the country’s ruling class “adolescent, school-minded, self-conscious, cowardly, sentimental, and in the last analysis homosexual.”

      I see no evidence that matters have improved since then. Rather, I see plenty of evidence (not least the moral degenerates in David Cameron’s cabinet, as well as the Benedictine establishments William Murphy mentions) that matters have grown worse.

    • Andrew

      Perhaps for England. That being said, I feel sorry for you.

      • William Murphy

        There is nothing special about England in this respect – it just that the decadence of English boarding schools has been notorious for decades. Do a Google search using terms such as “US boarding schools abuse” and you will find plenty of examples.

  • lifeknight

    One of the broad issues is when are the boys ready to be out of the home and into an environment with just enough freedom, but not enough to make bad choices. Homeschooling through high school is not easy. Finishing the 25 year of that choice, I still wonder which is the best road……I know a few who learned how to down more than a few beers at boarding school……on the other hand they still keep the Faith. Bottom line, each child is different. The trick is to pray that their best interests are served with an eternal perspective—AWAY from home or inside it.

  • Christopher Check

    Let’s not carelessly issue arguments that indict boarding schools based on pathologies that have risen to the level of stereotype in British culture. I am not at all prepared to discuss the prevalence of unnatural acts at boarding schools in the United Kingdom, but even stipulating such a culture, I don’t see how boarding schools, in and of themselves, are to blame. One might say that the self-contained and even secluded world of such institutions make such sins easier to execute, but then we would have to say the same of the Marine Corps squad bay or the Benedictine Abbey.

    Something I am prepared to discuss is St. Gregory’s. I have long friendship (more than a decade) with the school. I know well and count as dear friends all three of the headmasters in its history. I have lectured at the school a half-dozen times or so. I have spent long and festive days and evenings in the company of the school’s virile, uncompromising, and wise faculty. I have engaged to my delight the school’s graduates in lively in thoughtful
    conversation about the things that matter: beauty, goodness, truth. I have seen and felt the palpable joy of the boys on the rugby field, at Latin paradigms, gathered in song, and united in liturgy. It is as simple as this: there is no
    comparable school that I know.

    If you think that the world does not offer your son sufficient exposure to blinking screens, then take a pass on St. Gregory’s. If you do not agree with Pius XI who warns of “grave harm” from coeducation in high school, the take a pass on St. Gregory’s. If you want your son to learn that virtue finds its root in vir, that piety and virility are not mutually exclusive, and that he can be part of the restoration of Christian culture, call up Sean Fitzpatrick
    and arrange a visit.

    • William Murphy

      Boarding schools provide an ideal hunting ground for paedophiles. Day schools obviously also provide opportunities – there is a never ending parade of offenders from both state and private day schools through the British courts. And that’s just the ones unlucky enough to get caught. One of my teachers at my Catholic, predominantly day, school (40 miles west of London) served prison time in the late 1960s for indecent assault on a day pupil.

      But boarding schools are plainly even more tempting. There’s nothing uniquely wicked about UK boarding schools, despite the countless horror stories which have emerged down the years. A quick Google search will reveal plenty of US scandals in different types of boarding schools. The children are isolated from their families – even more so, if, as the author seems to want, that all their communication devices are banned. The teachers/housemasters are really “in loco parentis” 24 hours a day. Who is going to investigate any complaints in the first place, except another member of staff (and that’s assuming that the child is brave enough to complain)? Looking at the St Gregory website, I can’t see any statement about student protection policies; numerous British schools put such policies on their websites to assure parents that proper complaint and investigation procedures exist.

      Any educational arrangement which separates children from parents is unsatisfactory as it removes them from the people who love them most and are most single-mindedly devoted to their welfare. But if we are going to have “professionally” run schools, then, for adolescents, the single-sex day school is probably the least bad option.

  • Guest

    If single sex schooling is the way to go, what are the benefits for girls? How would the approach be different in the classroom?

  • Valeire

    Crazy. taking a boy out of his family, away from his father, mother, brothers and sisters, away from the family life…ask any number of young men who have gone to boarding school if they would send their children.

  • Jenny Tomsic Bioche

    Amen Mr. Fitzpatrick. Praying for your school, your students, and looking forward to it’s continued success!

  • Terry Mushroom

    I went to an English boarding school and hated it. I also wonder, in England at least, how many carpenters can afford the fees for a Benedictine education? (Warning: irony alert.)

  • Grace Peace

    I remember attending an inner healing seminar with a couple from England. She noted that there were many boarding schools in England and, as a result, that she ended up doing much inner healing because many children were deeply wounded by the absence of parents in their lives.

  • CombinatoricMastermind

    Is this the same guy that, to this day, defends “father” Urrutigoity and the other pedophiles of SSJ? Thanks, but I think I’ll pass on your school.

  • Ernie

    Christopher Check, you ought to do all of St. Gregory’s writing for them. Mr. Fitzpatrick favors the unsupported hyperbole school of writing. (The first paragraph is a festival of overstated assertions, and it doesn’t get much better later on.) That style serves mostly to arouse unsupported hyperbole in the opposite direction, as this comment thread would suggest.

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