These six sizzling school scandals, from ritzy boarding schools to county colleges, will make you think twice about private and public schools. Unfortunately, crimes have occurred in the hallowed halls of sacred learning institutions across the country.
1.Russian Secret Police in Connecticut
Secret societies and campus overlords seem too dramatic for reality in an elite boarding school. In 2009, however, one student sued the all-girls Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut, claiming a secret society had terrorized her.
Student Tatum T. Bass alleged that her classmates constantly harassed her until she suffered a nervous breakdown from their hazing. She cited a secret society of girls that called themselves the “Oprichniki,” after the 16th-century Russian secret police known for their ruthlessness, for her suffering. The systematic abuse Bass suffered remains unclear, but it might suggest that an all-girls education might not be as ideal as parents might think.
2. Murder at Ohio State
In 1929, James Howard Snook, a professor and former Olympic gold medalist, participated in a long-term, illicit affair with one of his students. The affair ended in a brutal murder.
Snook’s involvement in the scandal shocked the community because of his status as a professional athlete and professional status. Newspapers refused to print the sordid details of the affair because it was so scandalous.
Snook claimed he murdered his lover because she threatened to attack his wife and family. Whatever the truth, the jury did not show Snook any mercy. They sentenced him to death after deliberating for less than a half hour. He died in the electric chair in 1930.
3. Ivy League Failure
Many people pin their hopes on attaining an Ivy League education. For some people, this becomes an obsession. In 2011, one mother, who had invested $19,000 in her four-year old’s education, decided her preschool wasn’t doing enough and decided to sue them.
In fact, she believed that despite the high cost, the York Avenue Preschool could ruin her daughter’s chances of attending an Ivy League school. The issue at hand hinged on a promise from the school that her daughter would learn one alphabet letter a week. Instead, the unassuming four-year-old was spending too much time on shapes. In this instance, the school scandal didn’t result in any true harm, outside of dashing an unreasonable parent’s expectations.
4. An Alleged Satanic Campus Murder in California
In 1974, a brutal murder of a newlywed freshman shocked Stanford University when Arlis Perry went to the Memorial Chapel to pray after a fight with her husband. Someone entered the chapel, stabbed her with an icepick, and sexually assaulted her. This perpetrator also desecrated the chapel.
Some students began a rumor that a Satanic cult called the Process Church of the Final Judgment murdered Perry. They pointed to the desecration of the chapel as evidence. Infamous serial killer David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, allegedly wrote letters from prison that implied the cult was indeed responsible for the murder. To this day, Perry’s murder remains unsolved.
5. Bennington Triangle
Five people went missing near Bennington College in Vermont, between 1945 and 1950. Although they conducted extensive police searches, the bodies vanished, and officials never found them.
In 1946, an 18-year-old student named Paula Jean Welden disappeared. Apparently, Paula decided to go on a hike, despite the heavy snowfall and the fact she was not dressed for the weather. Authorities eventually declared Paula missing and never found her body.
Welden, along with five other people, went missing during those decades, and their bodies were never recovered. Today the “Bennington Triangle,” near Glastenbury Mountain, attracts paranormal researchers from around the world.
6. Choate Rosemary Hall Drug Ring
Choate Rosemary Hall, an idyllic New England boarding school with red brick buildings and sprawling green lawns, has had its share of scandals over time. In one case, a few entrepreneurial students decided to take advantage of the cocaine frenzy in the 1980s.
Student Matthew Robert Holmes attempted to smuggle 340 grams of cocaine into the country after flying to Venezuela on his spring break. Holmes and his conspirators were shocked when they were caught by U.S. Customs.
Holmes got off easily with 5,000 community service hours, five years in prison, and five years of probation. More than 15 other students also pled guilty to aiding and abetting the drug ring.
7. Big Brother is Watching You
In 2010, the principal called high school sophomore, Blake Robbins, into his office at Harriton High School in Pennsylvania. The administration accused him of inappropriate behavior — in his bedroom.
The school administrators had activated spy software on his school-issued laptop, monitoring his video and Gchat sessions as well as watching him, claiming he took drugs. Blake’s parents filed a class action lawsuit against the school district, which was settled out of court for $610K.
Unfortunately, school campuses are not immune to the world of true crime in America. From elite boarding schools to college campuses, no one is safe from the dark impulse of the criminal mind.