Little children shouldn’t be going to school in the same building as teenagers who might bully them and make them unsafe.
That was one line of argument that parents, educators, and community members laid out against school space-sharing arrangements several years ago, when former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was working to shoehorn hundreds of new schools into existing buildings.
The city seemed to respond to that position, emphasizing repeatedly that students of different ages would be kept separated whenever possible, especially in bathrooms. And in 2014, Chancellor Carmen Fariña—representing the administration of current Mayor Bill de Blasio—said keeping elementary- and high-school students apart would be one of four key factors in space decisions.
Now, a new study suggests that the worry, and the reaction, might be misguided—at least when students attend the same school.
That’s because schools with students of wide-ranging ages actually have less bullying than schools with just a few grades, researchers from Syracuse and New York universities concluded after studying reports from 90,000 students in more than 500 New York City schools.
Their finding—published this week in the American Educational Research Journal—follows a 2011 study by some of the same lead researchers that concluded that traditional elementary- and middle-school grade arrangements are the worst for student test scores.