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Hogwarts has a lot of security measures that look like an over excess for what is, in all effects, a school (unplottable, can't Apparate, controlled Floo network, students can't leave freely, etc.)

Most schools and colleges in England have minimum security (a guard on the door). Is there any in-universe reason as to why all that security? Has Rowling explained in any derivative works if there was a reason to fear attacks or whether Hogwarts is used for something else other than teaching? (E.g. experimental magical investigation requiring high security as in some universities?)

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    I'm gonna go with "death eaters" and "dark wizards" – Valorum Sep 13 '15 at 9:15
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    But schools do have the security stopping a grown man just walking in (electronic doors and such). Wizards are far more resourceful in disguising themselves and whatnot so it makes sense that the security is stepped up. – Mac Cooper Sep 13 '15 at 9:28
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    You're asking why a dark wizard or death eater might want to kill or kidnap the children of their enemies? – Valorum Sep 13 '15 at 9:33
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    I'd argue no apparition is at least partly because u don't want to be letting 11 year olds try magic that literally rips them apart if they don't get it JUST right – Mac Cooper Sep 13 '15 at 10:10
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    The real question should be: "Why is Hogwarts security so lax?" With all the deadly magical beasts lurking around, with how many times students just narrowly escaped death, with how many times a professor has been exposed as an impostor, and with all the spells which enable someone to kill (or mind-control) you and make everyone you know forget that they've ever known you, I would think security should be even tighter. – vsz Sep 13 '15 at 17:05
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Hogwarts has a very different threat profile to regular schools. It faces a lot of security challenges and risks that aren’t usually relevant. This mandates additional security measures that don’t or can’t apply to a Muggle school.

Let’s break down some of the additional protections:

  • Muggle-repelling charms. When Professor Binns is telling the history of Hogwarts, he says:

    “You all know, of course, that Hogwarts was founded over a thousand years ago — the precise date is uncertain — by the four greatest witches and wizards of the age. The four school Houses are named after them: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. They built this castle together, far from prying Muggle eyes, for it was an age when magic was feared by common people, and witches and wizards suffered much persecution.

    Chamber of Secrets, chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)

    This remains an issue in the present day. This is not a problem for Muggle schools, who usually want as many people as possible to have seen and heard of them.

  • Unplottability. When discussing foreign schools, Hermione explains:

    “There’s traditionally been a lot of rivalry between all the magic schools. Durmstrang and Beauxbatons like to conceal their whereabouts so nobody can steal their secrets.”

    Goblet of Fire, chapter 11 (Aboard the Hogwarts Express)

    Hogwarts has lots of unusual magic – the Room of Requirement, the moving staircases, the ceiling in the Great Hall – that might be of interest to third parties. Unplottability makes it harder for these people to find the castle.

  • Ban on apparition and a controlled Floo network. Allow people outside the castle to apparate in or enter via Floo is a massive security hole. It’s very likely this would give direct access to student areas, such as dormitories or houses. You can understand why people would be nervous about allowing this degree of access.

    Teleportation does not exist[citation needed] and therefore is not a threat to regular schools. Simple border protections (“a guard on the door”) are enough to keep out ne’er-do-wells. That doesn’t work if somebody can go straight past the border guard.

  • Internal apparition is bad for students. Okay, so you’re not allowed to appartate in. Could you apparate out? Or around the castle?

    Apparating out is verboten because it would allow students to leave the castle without permission (more on that shortly).

    Apparating around is dangerous, because an inexperienced student could easily splinch and do themselves a serious injury. That’s why it’s only allowed under carefully controlled and monitored circumstances, such as the apparition lessons. It would also be a rule-breaker’s dream, because they can get away from the scene of a crime in seconds. Imagine the pranks you could pull with instant teleportation.

  • Restricting student movement. This one isn’t so unusual. Hogwarts is a boarding school, and a lot of boarding schools impose similar restrictions on students leaving the school. Quoting from the Wikipedia article:

    Pupils generally need permission to go outside defined school bounds; they may be allowed to travel off-campus at certain times.


Edit: Fine, let’s address dark wizards as well. There are – and have always been, and probably always will be – nefarious actors in the magical community. No different to the Muggle world.

Hogwarts is the bottleneck for British magical education, which would make it a big target for dark wizards. Plenty of reasons for this:

  • All the children of significant people go here. Whether you’re an Auror, or politician, or senior banker at Gringotts, whoever – if your children are magical, they go to Hogwarts. Kidnapping or hurting Hogwarts students would be an easy way to get lots of political leverage.

    In the Muggle world, children of Prime Ministers or Presidents often get enhanced security at school. The magical world is no different, except it’s provided by default because there’s such a concentration of targetable children.

  • Pretty much every magical child in Britain goes through Hogwarts. Killing chunks of the student population would dry up the pipeline for future Aurors and Ministry officials.

  • Spectacle. I don’t think Hogwarts has ever been successfully taken by an attacker (the end of Deathly Hallows maybe?), which makes it a more tempting target. Imagine the fear you’d instill if you captured Hogwarts – that’s got to count for something.

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    I feel like this answer ignores the more obvious threats posed by dark wizards. – Valorum Sep 13 '15 at 15:49
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    @Richard : I feel like this answer tries to point out that security is needed even without the threat of dark wizards. The first two books have no threat of dark wizards as far as everyone's concerned: Voldemort was defeated and there was no dark wizard attack in over a decade. – vsz Sep 13 '15 at 17:09
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    @vsz - Just because there's not been a dark wizard attack in recent history would hardly be an excuse to have no protection for children at school – Valorum Sep 13 '15 at 17:25
  • @Richard : please read my reply more carefully. I didn't say having no dark wizard attack is an excuse for no security. On the contrary, I said that the answer points out why security is needed even in the absence of dark wizard attacks... while you criticized the lack of dark wizard threats in the answer. Aren't your two comments contradictory? – vsz Sep 13 '15 at 17:30
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    @vsz - I'm saying that this answer seems incomplete. In addition to the reasons listed, it could also mention external threats. – Valorum Sep 13 '15 at 17:31

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