The Atlantic

The Fury of the Prep-School Parents

An elite-college education is one of the few expensive things that is for sale, but that not everyone is allowed to buy.
Source: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Burner phones, FBI stakeouts, search warrants—Season 6 of The Wire? No, just our social betters street fighting their children’s way into elite colleges. In March, we got Operation Varsity Blues, which charged a group of wealthy parents and an alleged conman with conspiring to get lackluster students into posh colleges in a scheme so improbably complex that it triggered the use of the RICO statute. Earlier this month, Sidwell Friends School, bastion of the Washington, D.C., elite, was the site of a fantastical, Real Housewives of the Independent Schools cavalcade of hideous parental behavior, which apparently included a “verbal assault” on college counselors, secretly taping conversations with them, calling them from blocked phone numbers to run down other kids in the applicant pool, and trying to obtain copies of other students’ records.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic12 min read
The Politics of Dignity
A commitment to equal dignity can pull together a nation that Trump has devoted himself to dividing.
The Atlantic5 min read
Why British Reality TV Is Starting to Play Nice
Conflict is drama—and high drama is the essence of reality television. That has been the accepted wisdom in Britain for two decades, since Big Brother cooped people up in a shared house and forbade them access to anything which might stop them gettin
The Atlantic6 min read
New Orleans Needs a Better Way to Do Mardi Gras
NEW ORLEANS—Standing in line at the hardware store on the edge of the French Quarter one December Monday, I overheard the cashier talking to a regular customer about manhole covers that had exploded just before dawn that morning a couple of blocks aw