A toxic school is one that has been found to be highly problematic in terms of its social, emotional, and physical impact. When a school is found to be highly toxic, it is usually because it has violated multiple standards and regulations, which in turn can negatively affect the entire community. These standards include everything from the adequacy of the school’s facilities and resources to the quality of its educators and the manner in which they interact with the children.
Students who have been identified as a “toxic” school often find it difficult to improve even when other schools around them are making gains. The reason is that the schools in question are often too dysfunctional to change. It is in the nature of a toxic school to produce toxic students.
If schools are so broken, it is only logical that they are unlikely to improve. Toxic schools produce toxic students, not just because they do not teach critical thinking, but because they also create an environment that pushes students to conform to a group and prevents them from thinking independently.
In schools, some students are more likely to struggle with toxic behaviors than others. These behaviors include bullying, underage drinking, substance abuse, and sexual harassment. This makes it all the more important to identify toxic schools to stop the behavior and break the cycle. Identifying a toxic school will be easy with the signs that I will share with you.
- When learning about a school’s toxic culture, people often look at or notice the relationships between teachers and students. While most schools are a place of learning, it is often a place fraught with hostility. As students go through the school system, they are often exposed to negative interactions at the hands of teachers, peers, and administrators. These encounters can cause students to lose confidence, change their behavior, or learn to disengage from school altogether.
- When it comes to school, what are the rules and regulations teachers focus on and enforce most? How are they applied to students and their learning experiences? What, if anything, are the consequences when rules are broken? A toxic school is one that prioritizes rules and procedures over relationships and encourages conformity above creativity and risk-taking. Rules are necessary, but rules aren’t everything. In how schools and educational environments create safe spaces for students, there’s a great deal that goes beyond the simple rules of the school.
- A toxic school is often a dysfunctional, poorly managed school. While the purpose of a school should be the education of our youth, it seems that one of the main goals of many schools today is to satisfy some sort of “purpose,” usually for the benefit of the adults running the show.
Toxic schools are those that fail to engage their students, foster a sense of community, or provide students with a clear sense of purpose. Often, these schools are characterized by a lack of academic rigor, a poor quality of teachers, a lack of a rigorous curriculum, and an unsympathetic administration. When a school is toxic, students are likely to experience a negative environment that rewards bad behavior, fosters apathy, and is not conducive to learning.
- A toxic school is a school that is damaging to the lives of students. The damage can be in the form of academic performance, emotional well-being, social behavior, and even physical health. If any of these areas of life are negatively affected, the school looks toxic to the students. The students at a toxic school suffer because they do not get the help they need, and, thus, the school has failed to meet their most basic needs of a healthy and safe learning environment.
- Schools are supposed to be safe places where we learn new things, but more and more students are being harmed by chemicals in their classrooms. The young, the old, the sick, the suicidal, the overweight, the meek—you name it, it’s being perpetrated by toxic chemicals.
A toxic school is a school it lacks safety for the students and staff. It’s important that schools have the resources in place to identify what is causing the people in school to feel unsafe to intervene and keep the school safe.