Debate For: Private School Students Need Empathy Lessons


As a student of a comprehensive school, I am apt to listening to the common stereotypes associated with private school students. These students are known as out of touch with reality and completely immune to any concept of responsibility or consequence, as they can always trust on daddy to bail them out. It is commonly thought that these ‘rich kids of Instagram’ are used to having everything, and therefore have no time for those people who can never match up to their high expectations.

There was a recent news article about a Cambridge University student setting fire to a 20-pound note in front of a freezing homeless man, and upon my own research discovered he went to a top Edinburgh private school. Surely, then, this would prove my stereotype to be true? Nobody can deny the actions displayed by this student was thoughtless and cruel. Yes, he could do with a few lessons of empathy, but I would argue that the issue the headmaster of the private school is aiming to tackle with his empathy lessons is more widespread than an economic lifestyle. The issue in hand is something I have also encountered first-hand at during my own comprehensive education: the vast majority of my generation are horrible, horrible people.

All humans have a biological disposition towards self-preservation, but it is clear to me that many people my age, rich or poor, go way beyond what can be seen as an accepted amount of selfishness. Whilst I am against the argument that social media is the cause of millennial narcissism, it certainly provides a platform in which it can be demonstrated. We might change our profile pictures to show solidarity with terrorist attacks, but only because we see other people do it and don’t want to be perceived as looking different and therefore being judged by our peers. This faux demonstration of care would soon be replaced if other people started to change their picture back, or if there’s a really cute selfie we just made with the doggy Snapchat filter that we would prefer the world to see.

We are the kind of people who idolise Kylie Jenner, a 19-year-old plastic surgery lover who spends her days taking selfies. Again, she is another example of a rich person being selfish and removed from the world, but I have seen chavs on my Facebook who do the exact same thing as her. Maybe it would be on an iPhone 4 rather than a 7, but the principle is the same. Yes, a private school might be the only place to offer these ‘empathy lessons’, but that is simply because they have a larger pool of money in which to invest in these resources than your standard comprehensive.

Personally, I feel that such lessons would be extremely beneficial to people in my generation so that we can become capable of looking further than our self-tinted goggles.


Wessex Scene Editor // meme queen // fan of chocolate digestives // @colombochar on Twitter.

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