With the recent trial of rape/consensual sex at St. Paul’s School between a senior boy and a freshman girl, we’ve had lots of conversation in our family about whether it’s time to return to the days when boarding schools were all boys or all girls. I’m not sure what, if anything, it would solve, but it seems to me there’s so much enticement for sex on a co-ed campus that it’s not at all surprising so many incidents of rape or senior ladder contests exist.
Of course, common sense says that back in the day in single-sex schools, boys were still having sex, it’s just that they saved up their horniness for the weekend, when boys and girls schools had mixers or they invited a girlfriend from home up to the campus and found a way to get a motel room.
The change to co-ed didn’t come without male students complaining bitterly but the social times determined single-sex schools were discriminatory. But to whom? Probably the major benefactors wanted Susie and Biff to be alums of dad’s school and pushed for the campus to go co-ed.
My sister’s older daughter was the first class of girls when Lawrenceville School went co-ed, Lawrenceville one of the last to add girls, and those boys were hell-bent on teaching the dumb girls a few lessons or two for invading their male space. My niece would say the hazing emboldened her to stand up for herself and it must have been successful since she went on to Dartmouth, not exactly a place for Pajama Boy males.
Mr. EOS is a product of an all-male boarding school in the 60s but the children went to co-ed boarding schools. Each, if asked, would say they liked the environment they were in.
The single sex environment in a boarding school has its pros and cons. (And I’m talking boarding schools here, not day schools). I’m not positive, but I bet guys would go back to single-sex before girls would. I think the girls felt left behind academically in an all-girls school environment, although back in the 1960s, the girls I knew who went to boarding school, and it was more than half my eighth grade class who disappeared, would all say they got a great education!! Is it that today’s idea of education for a girl is that much different than today? Probably yes, since many of my friends went off to Bennett or Briarcliff Junior College and we all know what happened to those colleges! But I think they really had a place in education and I think its sad they are gone.
Girls today are probably better off in a co-ed environment to compete on a daily basis with men as they will later in the workforce yet single sex education might give the girls more power to learn without being embarrassed to get an answer wrong sitting next to the cutest boy in the class. Yes, that does happen.
Back to the subject at hand, sex in the co-ed boarding school. Definitely easier because there’s no waiting for the weekend. Are the girls more likely to have sex with a classmate when they are around them all day every day? Is it that the girls report it more today than they might have in the 1960s – that unwanted sexual encounters happen just as much now as then, but we know about it now? My kids went to pretty small boarding schools where faculty knew what was going on, for the most part. Take a huge school like St. Paul’s, Andover, or Exeter, kids can sneak off anywhere.
My point? I’m not sure I actually have one other than to ask whether the co-ed nature of boarding schools today brings about more sexual activity. I haven’t decided in my mind whether the St. Paul’s boy was guilty of rape, even though the courts found him guilty of the lesser charge, a misdemeanor. The media blamed the school for not knowing what was going on. I say that’s utterly stupid, that if sex is what the kids want, they will make it happen.