why focus on boys?

“Boys and men are more likely to be victims of violence than girls and women, commit suicide at four times the rate of females, and suffer emotional disturbance, behavioral and other brain-related disorders in higher numbers than females. They are suspended or expelled from school in much higher numbers than girls, receive two-thirds of the Ds and Fs in schools, and lag behind girls in standardized test scores throughout the nation. They abuse substances and alcohol at higher rates than girls and are incarcerated at exponentially higher rates.”

From Saving Our Sons: A New Path for Raising Healthy and Resilient Boys

 Consider these statistics



Boys (at 12.1% of U.S. children aged 4-17) are more than twice as likely as girls (at 5.5%) to have ADHD.



Substance Abuse

The average boy tries an illegal drug at the age of 13. 12% of American males age 12 and older regularly use illegal drugs.



Student retention

At the middle school level, boys are more likely than girls to be held back one year, with boys representing 64% of students retained.




94% of mass shootings are committed by males.  Most of the shooters are white males who act alone.  60% of the shooters were between 11 and 18 years old.




One in four boys are bullied at school, and only 30% notify an adult. Bully-victims are more likely to carry a weapon.




Three or more boys commit suicide every day. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for boys.



Drop-out rates

Boys are two times more likely than girls to flunk or drop out of school.



School-to-prison pipeline

Students suspended or expelled for a discretionary violation are nearly three times more likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system the following year.


The research is clear: our boys need help.

It’s also clear that the rest of us – girls, women, and grown men – need to help our boys in order to help ourselves. In the U.S., we seem to be making long-awaited and much-needed progress in serving the educational needs of girls (granted, there is still a great deal of work to do). Helping our boys to develop into compassionate, self-aware, thoughtful, creative individuals will surely help further our fight for gender equity. More broadly, issues of toxic masculinity, rape culture, and gun violence demand action. We need our boys to be on our side of these issues; which requires us to be on their side during this critical time in their development.

Seattle School for Boys is on a mission to support, guide, and encourage boys so that they can – and will – do good in our community and our world.