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Emotionally Abusive Schools


Former UK Student's Letter

Wounded by School

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Message for American Parents

Schools Are Not Designed for Sensitive People - Searches


This is a new page as of June 2011.

I feel a heaviness as I start this page. I know this is a huge topic. I know that schools are emotionally damaging literally billions of young people every day. I know their emotional needs are not being met. I know that this is having major consequences on the world as these emotionally damaged people turn into "adults," including parents, lawyers, police, prison wardens, teachers, school directors and politicians.

I feel awed by the scope of this topic.

I would like to ask your help. Your help in creating a comprehensive list of the ways that schools are emotionally abusive.

For example,

There is not enough time or even a physical place for privacy. Students who are depressed or self-harming often report that the only relatively safe place they can go to be alone and feel safe is in the bathrooms. But even these are often monitored by adults.

There is not enough time for self-expession. The simple human necessity of having someone to talk to. Someone who will listen and care. In most schools students are punished for one of the most natural things a human can do: simply talking to their friends. In many classes students can not even quietly pass a written note.

Restricting and oppressing someone's need for communication is definitely a type of emotional and psychological abuse, just as stopping them from getting enough vitamins and nutrients each day.

Caring - Individual students are not so much cared about as they are controlled. There is no time for teachers to care about how individual students feel, or what is happening at home, or even what is happening among classmates.

Isolation - In America a common for of punishment is "In School Suspension".

Involuntary Confinement - In most cases to confine someone against their will is a crime. The exceptions are if you are a teacher or a parent.


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Former UK Student's Letter

I went to school in the UK. Using the definition of abuse from EQI.org, I quickly remembered many ways school was abusive. Here are some of them, put into categories of abuse from the EQI definition.

Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation etc. 


At all three schools I went to, threats were the commonly accepted practice for controlling behaviour. Obviously, threats work only by causing fear in the person being threatened.  

Threats of not being allowed to go to the prom unless attendence is high. Threats to call your parents if you don't behave/obey. Threats to cause psychological pain through punishment, of being isolated or kept behind in "detention". Threats of losing your free time. Of being moved away from your friends. Of being sent outside and made to stand by the door for an hour. Of having your phone taken away from you. Of being expelled or excluded. Of being put "on report". Of being disqualified if your phone rings during an exam. Of informing your prospective university of your bad punctuality so that you have less chance of being accepted. Etc.  

One teacher threatened a girl with detention if she didn't learn how to use Microsoft Word properly before the next lesson.

Then there are the other, implied, vague threats about ruining your life and becoming a failure if you don't do well in your exams, schoolwork, etc.  


A large number of girls in my school used to bring a small purse to school instead of a schoolbag. To discourage this, the school had a policy that if they caught you carrying a small bag, they would give you a yellow, plastic shopping bag from the "Netto" supepermarket, and force you to carry it around all day. They knew this would humiliate the student, as the "Netto" brand was very unpopular, and it was thought to be embarrassing to shop there.   

My English teacher had several tricks for getting her students be quiet. When a girl and boy were talking in her class, she would try to silence them by making embarrassing remarks and comments about them being together romantically. 

One of my primary school teachers disliked it when her students would tie their jackets around their waist, so she would make disapproving, embarrassing remarks about any student she saw doing this. "Is your butt cold, or have you decided to start wearing skirts?" 


It is normal and acceptable for teachers to yell and scream at students. 


Lectures. Lots of lectures during school assemblies. A lot of it trying to make the students feel guilty about their 'bad' behaviour. For example, our school had a huge problem with people being late. Students would often walk in halfway through morning assembly or halfway throuh lessons. There were guilt-trips about how rude and disrespectful you are when you show up late, because everyone has to wait for you, and you're disrupting the lesson, making more work for teachers, etc. 


Forced Schooling: Just the fact that you are required to go to school under the threat of legal action, eg. prison time for your parents in the UK, is extremely coercive. Whether you actually want to go isn't taken into account. 

Students who hate school have to be coerced into going. Most schools function through a generally accepted system or rewards and punishment. But you would not need these if you actually had the student's voluntary cooperation. This practically means schools are by definition coercive.  


Rewards, through grades and praise are very common. In one school, students were given "merit stamps" from teachers whenever they did something that was approved of. After collecting a certain amount of stamps, you would be formally presented with a 'silver', 'bronze' and 'gold' certificate in front of the whole year group. 

In my primary school some teachers gave out marshmellows for answering math questions. 

There are also elaborate systems of punishment. For example, 'three strikes and you're out': If a teacher told you to stop running in the corridor, and you disobeyed, you would be given a 'warning'. If this happened again, you would be put "on report" and/or given detention. If this happened a third time, you could get excluded, letter sent to your parents, etc.  

Goolgle Searches

Althought I can hardly believe my eyes, when I searched Google today for "Emotionally Abusive Schools" I found zero results for that exact phrase.

When I tried "Schools are emotionally abusive" I found just three results. One was from my article about governments being abusive.

This one was most interesting. It is about boarding schools. Here is one quote

The people I talked to told me all about what they went through. It left many of them hating life, hating god, hating themselves. (Back up copy)

"School is emotionally abusive" gave just 2 results. Both were talking about a school of dentistry.


Google Searches - Sensitive, Intelligent People

March 30, 2012

Information No results found for "schools are not designed for sensitive people".

Information No results found for "schools are not made for sensitive people"..

Information No results found for "schools are not made for sensitive"..

Information No results found for "schools are not designed for sensitive"..

I thought of this when a student named Nelia told me that a teacher told her that he wanted to see her the next day after school. He didn't say why. She was afraid it was about how she has been missing so many days of forced school. So she was scared for the rest of the day, that night and the next day before she had to see him. (Actually she didn't "have" to see him, but of course she would have been punished or hurt in some way if she didn't obey him.)


No results found for "schools are not designed for intelligent people"..

No results found for "schools are not designed for emotionally intelligent".


No results found for "schools are not designed for intelligent".

No results found for "schools are not made for intelligent"

These results mean there is nothing found for intelligent students, teens, children or even teachers.

Another search

"schools are designed for"

About 141,000 results

"schools are made for" - About 71,900 results.