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Choosing ehe right type of High School Private vs Public

MySONshine profile image

Hello All,

My son is going to high school next year, and I'm anxious about choosing the best fit for him. My son has ADHD and is always picking the wrong crowd of friends. I'm constantly getting calls from his current school, and when I talk with his teachers, they consistently say "your son is hanging with the wrong crowd." I'm considering moving him to a private school because the public schools in our area are having some difficulties on the high school level including large class sizes, not preparing students for college, and gang activity.

Additionally, my son is making honor roll at his current schools; however, I don't feel the school is providing a good academic foundation. I have him in tutoring once a week, and the tutor is continually saying, "The school work is not on grade level." I am a single mom and have stayed up many nights worrying about making the right decision for him. I'm worried about several things including will he be ready for college, will he be able to handle all the independence that comes with being a high school student, and will he choose the wrong crowd and experiment with drugs because he's already taking Vyvanse. I know I'm rambling, but I have been struggling with this for the last six months, and I don't know what to do. If I send him private school, it's going to expensive financially and if I send him to public school his going to expensive emotionally. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my post this mama bears sure appreciate your efforts.

5 Replies

Public vs private is definitely a tricky choice - a lot of times it just depends on which private school versus which public school.

I would research the private or charter schools you are considering very carefully, as (to my knowledge) typically they are not as equipped to handle students with special needs or requiring accommodations as well as public schools are legally required to. So, definitely get info on their ability to handle ADHD and to honor any 504/IEP accommodations you have in place.

That being said, I know people with ADHD who had amazing experiences at private schools, and some who had terrible experiences. So, just depends on the school.

In my area, there is a private school specifically for dyslexia / ADHD. I don’t really know much about it, but something to perhaps keep an eye out for in your area.

Best of luck!

Mamab3 profile image
Mamab3 in reply to Pennywink

My daughter with ADHD, anxiety, and depression has had a terrible time in public high school hanging with the wrong crowd, drugs, shoplifting, and failing classes. She too was on honor roll in middle school. The student population doubled and so did the classroom sizes with a lack of support. We decided to put her into an independent study charter school. Still having issues with behavior and bad friends but her grades and anxiety seems better. My best friends son also with ADHD in high school went the Catholic private route and that was a disaster also. They don't have the reaources to support kids with learning and behavior challenges. So she sent him to the same charter program. It's a tough call and your fears are completely valid. This is no easy road. Do what your gut tells you. You know your child best.

Hi, I am also a single mom and what you have written describes the exact same thing I am experiencing with my 12 y.o. son with ADHD. I have all the same concerns and worries that keep me awake. There are issues with class size, teacher to student ratio, material given that is below grade level, material not being taught to provide a great foundation, etc.

If you decide to move your son into a private school, by law, they are not required to provide your son with an IEP or 504 plan. They will provide minimal accommodations only. If your son really needs the specialized education plans that a public or charter school will provide, I would not move him into a private school. Take some time to research other public schools in your area that may be a better fit. It is tough when we are forced to have our kids in a zoned school or have to pay ridiculous tuition costs to go out of zone.

MySONshine profile image
MySONshine in reply to Janice_H

Hi Janice,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. I agree that the accommodations may be better in public schools. I will look into trying to transfer to another school zone. There are so many moving parts to consider. I'm still in research mode. I wish you and your son the best of luck.

Hi, and thanks for sharing your story. That's a tough decision you're facing and I know it must be causing you quite a bit of emotional distress already.

Since having ADHD qualifies as a disability, there are special needs grants and scholarships that could be awarded. Also, if your son's grades are above average or even exceptional for his grade level, you might be able to get a full or partial scholarship for him at one of the private schools. I would investigate to see what can be done to help out financially.

Like any mother, I know you want the very best for your son. Hope this helps and I'll be praying for the right resources to come your way. Be encouraged, sending a big mama bear hug to you and many blessings.

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