Prep schools. They’re the ivory towers on the hill, the bastions of privilege for star scholar athletes and the moneyed elite. They have illustrious names like Phillips Academy, Trinity School, and St. Paul’s School, and those names are linked to a roll call of distinguished alumni: U.S. presidents and diplomats, business magnates and clergymen, inventors, Nobel prize winners, celebrities, and royalty. The curriculum? Prep schools teach the American aristocracy self awareness, social awareness, relationship building and decision making, typically in old, ivy-clung stone buildings with well-polished dining halls and rectories.
And then there’s bullying, underage sex scandals, academic cheating, racism, and drug-fuelled parties that would have even Julian Welles (“Less Than Zero”) checking into rehab. That’s the other part of the curriculum –the skeletons in the closet and dark histories of prestigious academic institutions. Not a year goes by that prep school culture isn’t put under the microscope because of an irreparable scandal. In 1984, 17 students were expelled from Choate Rosemary Hall for operating a cocaine ring; and in 1992, a drama director at Philips Academy was convicted of taking illicit photographs of a 16-year old boy. And that’s only the beginning of the syllabus.
10 St. Paul’s School
8 Berkshire School
7 Miss Porter’s School
6 The Hotchkiss School
5 Phillips Exeter Academy
4 Groton School
3 Milton Academy
2 Choate Rosemary Hall
1 Horace Mann
It’s the worst sex abuse scandal in prep school history, a decades-long cover-up that’s comparable to the sex scandal that rocked the Catholic archdiocese in Boston in 2002. According to the New York Times, as many as 64 students were abused at Horace Mann, an exclusive prep school in the Bronx. At least twenty-two faculty and staff, including men and women, sexually preyed on students, a fact that’s made some people conclude the teachers at Horace Mann operated a sex ring. The abuse at Horace Mann began around 1962 and lasted until the late 90s. Reports were made to people at the highest level of administration, but nothing was done.
Sources: NBCnews.com, VanityFair.com
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