Updated Rioter Data: Arrestees Disproportionately Attended Public Schools


As school choice continues to expand across the country, you can expect to see a parade of op‐​eds and articles, like this one, decrying private schools as hotbeds of intolerance and general backwardness. And certainly some uphold beliefs and have codes of conduct many would consider intolerant and even loathsome. But here’s the thing: Research shows that private schools overall produce better – more tolerant and knowledgeable – citizens. And we have some new data suggesting that arrestees from the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot disproportionately attended public schools.

Last month I reported on numbers Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom had crunched indicating that nine percent of riot arrestees had attended private schools, a number proportionate to private schooling’s overall share of high school kids. Subsequent to that there have been many additional arrests, and we were able to locate schooling information for 14 more people, all of whom attended public schools. That brings the total to 47 arrestees for whom we have schooling information, only 3 of whom – or 6 percent – attended private schools. 94 percent went to public institutions.

The same important qualifications apply to these numbers as the previous tally – we were unable to locate K-12 education information for the vast majority of arrestees, what we have is almost entirely at the high school level – but this finding is yet another indicator that private schools may be better for the country’s social and civic health than public. And considering that liberty is the bedrock American value, arguing that school choice – educational freedom – is some sort of grave threat to the country may have things completely backwards.

Used with permission. Cato Institute / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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