There are a lot of reasons that parents consider pulling their kids out of public schools and putting them in private institutions. The quality of education and lower teacher to student ratios often are sited. Private schools can do better with special needs or working with students with special talents as well. But by far the biggest reason for the exodus from public schools is the issue of drugs and violence in public school settings.
There have been plenty of movies that focus on gang life in high schools and the influence of adverse peer pressure that your child might undergo if exposed to negative elements at school. But oddly enough, the Hollywood representation of the influence of drugs and violence in public schools understates the case rather than overemphasizes it. To be blunt, the influence of drug cultures and of violent individuals can easily cause profound changes in your child and changes that are far from what you want for your offspring.
As parents, we want our children to mix with other kids with the same values and children who have ambition and good goals in life so the good teaching you have given to your kids in childhood can come to a good fruit in their teen years. Unfortunately, in many public schools, kids who are not there for education but have other agendas including illicit sex, drugs, criminal activity or violence are often seen as heroes and emulated by other kids. It is very easy for your child to fall in with the wrong kids in such a place and go down the wrong path before you have a chance to stop it.
The tragic stories of such things happening are far too common and they break the heart of any parent who wants only the best for his or her child. Some of the fault comes from the fact that the law requires that the state and city support public education for every child in the community. That naturally means that your child will be in classes with people who could have a negative influence on him or her. It is literally a place where you cannot protect your child and a place where even if your child has strong values and resists the influence of the drug culture and the temptations offered there, they still could become a victim of random violence that occurs frequently in such schools.
Despite the large public education budgets we read about in the papers, public schools are always chronically under funded. That means that classes are too large and teachers are often unable to control antisocial behavior in class. The worst outcome of such an explosive situation are violent outbursts where people get hurt or worse. At the very least this kind of setting makes a quality education virtually impossible and your child will come home traumatized and just glad to have survived the day rather than coming home happy and challenged academically.
In the last few years, large scale school shootings have made our concern for the safety of children at public school an even bigger concern. Yes, schools have responded with tighter security and more efforts to keep students intent on killing others from reaching your kids. But it is a public situation and the continued incidence of school shootings shows that even high security measures can only go so far.
These dangers make private school an attractive alternative. While even at the private school level, security is not guaranteed, the smaller community can do more to know the students well, counsel those who are troubled and build the kind of community that discourages the influence of drugs and violence. And that is the kind of educational setting we all want for our kids.