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I saw this article from Screen Rant. Wonderful article mind you, it makes me curious that those the points gathered there are very valid to the school must be shut down especially when Voldemort returned. However, I don't agree with the 9th and 5th one. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Professor McGonagall was worried about what's happening to the students regarding the basilisk's attack.

Students must be sent home, I'm afraid this would be the end of Hogwarts.

Though I'm not sure if she said that in the book, but that's not the point here. The point here is that danger that is happening in Hogwarts. It's so ridiculous that Hogwarts is a school that doesn't prioritize the safety of the students. Shall I put the list for you and I will just copy it from the article if you don't mind =).

  1. The Chamber of Secrets opened twice

    Good point! The first time the Chamber of Secrets was opened was when Voldemort was at school. He opened the Chamber and set the basilisk on Muggle-born students and then blamed everything on Hagrid. The school should have shut down when the attacks kept going on, but it definitely should have been shut down after Moaning Myrtle died. The death of a student and the fact that other students were petrified is a good reason to shut the school down for a while. Considering the fact that the first time the Chamber of Secrets was opened that a student died, you would think it reopening a second time would be good enough reason to close the school right away. Given that Hagrid and others were alive and a part of what happened, it’s not like it was that long ago. The school should have been closed once the first attack happened and not reopened again until the monster had been identified and stopped.

  2. Umbridge used Physical Punishments

    Potterhead fans almost hated her more than the Dark Lord himself. While Voldemort was often one of the worst things to happen to Hogwarts, Umbridge was almost as bad. She might not have been in league with Voldemort at the time, but she was truly vile. She used physical torture as punishment during detentions by making students carve words into the back of their hands over and over. This is a completely wild thing to happen, and the school should have been shut down once this started happening.

  3. When Voldemort possesses Quirrell

    During Harry Potter's time at Hogwarts, there were multiple times when Voldemort and his plans to come back to power put Harry and all the other students at risk. This started early on in Harry’s first year. It was pretty ridiculous that Dumbledore housed the Sorcerer’s Stone at Hogwarts in the first place. But, after Quirrell, who had Voldemort on the back of his head, tried to kill Harry to get the stone, there should have at least been some sort of inquiry. Instead, things just went right back to normal.

  4. Cedric Diggory died at the Triwizard Tournament

    This is one of the most horrifying things that happened to a Hogwarts student during Harry’s time at the school. While Cedric didn’t actually die at the school, he did die under mysterious circumstances that were connected to a school event.The Triwizard Tournament was so dangerous anyway that it shouldn’t have been reinstated. After Cedric died, some serious consideration about the school and its safety measures should have happened.

  5. When Voldemort came back to power

    After Voldemort came back to power at the end of The Goblet of Fire, it would have been wise to just shut Hogwarts down. Of course, the Ministry didn’t actually want to admit he was back, but after it was confirmed, Hogwarts should have been shut down for a time. While lots of people insisted that being around Dumbledore was the safest place to be, clearly this isn't actually true as so many bad things happened at the school.

  6. A Dark secret from a Defense against the Dark Arts Teacher

    So many of the Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers posed a safety risk to the students. First, there was Quirrell, and then there was Lockhart who was a fraud,Lupin a werewolf,Moody who was actually a Death Eater impersonating the Auror and of course, Umbridge. While Snape is the loathsome of most students, Dumbledore needed him to accomplish the plan. Considering how many professors were horrible to the students, it would have been a good idea to shut the school down and rethink it.

  7. After the Battle of Hogwarts

    This is interesting.One of the most tragic things that ever happened at Hogwarts was the Battle of Hogwarts. This battle ended the lives of multiple people, including one who was a student at the time. The fact that the school ever reopened after this doesn't make a lot of sense.It’s basically the source of a lot of trauma for many of the students and their families, so it would make more sense to move the wizarding school to some other location.

So all of those events that gathered from Steele (the article writer) makes a valid reason to stop sending students to Hogwarts every year.

REFERENCE: https://screenrant.com/harry-potter-hogwarts-shut-down/

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    The because then there would be no books after the first one? – Torsten Link Oct 25 '19 at 4:54
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    @TorstenLink that's plot convenience which doesn't make sense – The Witch King of Angmar Oct 25 '19 at 4:55
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    How about a comparison with real life? There are schools which became victims of amok killers and they don’t get closed afterwards. When there was fear of a sniper in the US, schools didn’t close. The windows got covered and life continued. Did ever entire schools get closed because one teacher used physical punishments? Why should that happen in the wizard world where the ministry doesn’t even saw a problem in this, as Umbridge never got punished? It seems, you expect Hogwarts to get closed for much less than real life schools and that, when Hogwarts seems to be the only school in UK… – Holger Oct 25 '19 at 12:44
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    Counterpoint to #5: You're more likely to catch a disease in a hospital since that's where the sick people are. But what you're arguing is akin to saying people shouldn't go to hospitals. Yes, there are threats in Hogwarts, but there are also threats if you're somewhere else (as proven by Voldemort's destruction of the peaceful atmosphere in the wizarding world and his agenda to rid the world of mudbloods). Halting education has massive repercussions for future wizarding generations. You'll get rogue wizards and witches, untrained to properly handle magic. – Flater Oct 25 '19 at 12:56
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    @Holger Another real-life data point- People didn't call for the Pentagon to be shut down and the workers relocated after 9/11. There were even calls from many to rebuild the World Trade Center towers (ultimately deemed too costly) and resume business as usual to send a tangible message that evil had not won. – jmbpiano Oct 25 '19 at 15:31
103

The writer of this Muggle article is ascribing Muggle values to the wizarding world.

The Wizarding world generally seems to accept danger far more readily then the muggle world does, a tournament is held that involves putting students in danger fighting Dragons, their loved ones are captured. They engage in a sport that sees children fly broomsticks at amazing speeds while trying to knock each other off.

Lessons also add a sense of real risk, potions class leads to mishaps, poisonings and students being transformed needing care. The infirmary is almost always treating a student or two for magical mishaps.

So given that the day-to-day life of being a wizard could, at any point, lead to a wizard facing death or worse at the hands of some creature, another wizard or just their own mistakes at spell casting then, it could be argued, the experiences at Hogwarts mean the students of Hogwarts are more prepared for the wizarding world than at any other school.

Also remember many of the events of the early books are glossed over by the Ministry of Magic, they want to cover it all up. Shutting Hogwarts would lead to questions and bring to light the events of the past few years. Dumbledore however truly believes the only way to keep his students safe is to keep them in the protective wards of the school, and any peril caused by being there, well, it's just part of the everyday fun and excitement of being a child wizard.

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    This is the correct answer. In the wizards' world, all adults and children over the age of 11 carry around potential weapons of mass destruction at all times. Many families share their homes with members of a slave race that possesses similar powers. If anything, I found it unrealistic that closing Hogwarts was even floated as an idea during Chamber of Secrets; the students were already in deadly danger all the time even without a basilisk being on the loose. – tbrookside Oct 25 '19 at 14:03
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    @tbrookside The difference is that a deadly creature was on the prowl with intent to kill - Any of the teachers could probably kill scores or hundreds of students without much difficulty, but they are not trying to (and in fact are probably trying not to). It'd be the same difference in the real world between a school resource officer w/ a gun walking the halls vs. letting school continue with a known serial killer armed w/ a gun walking the halls. – TylerH Oct 25 '19 at 14:14
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    I think the more relevant aspect is that while magic has the capacity to cause harm beyond what non-magical people can easily appreciate, it also has the capacity to repair things similarly. Focusing only on magic's destructive or injurious potential misses that access to magic is a category difference, not a difference of degree in potential harms. An HP-style magical world isn't just a more dangerous version of the regular world, it is a totally different setting with totally different rules. Getting cut in half at the waist is an easily fixable annoyance in HP. – Upper_Case Oct 25 '19 at 18:05
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    @TylerH i am afraid you didn't get the point. Children wizards in HP universe each have the ability to summon and do all kinds of dangerous things by misfortune, accident or malevolence. Their wands can be compared to handguns or (as I did) unrestricted mobile phones for eldritch things. This is an occupational hazard for both them and the teachers and as such part of normal life there. Therefore when a dangerous killing beast is unleashed, it is just something that could happen in this setting. Therefore the response is: find and kill it. Then go on. Not, close the school. – Gnudiff Oct 25 '19 at 21:51
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    @Upper_Case being cut in half would be much worse than Sectumsempra cast at Malfoy by Harry. And Malfoy didn't recover fast. Were Snape not around, Malfoy would've died. – Ruslan Oct 25 '19 at 21:56
21

All of these are different events, and each has its own reasons for why the school wasn't shut down after each one. Let's go through them.


  1. The Chamber of Secrets

    1a. The first time it was opened, the school was nearly shut down. However, after Riddle managed to pin it on Hagrid, and Hagrid got expelled (and the attacks stopped), the school was able to continue, because the "culprit" had been apprehended.

    "You mean all these attacks, sir?" said Riddle, and Harry's heart leapt, and he moved closer, scared of missing anything.
    "Precisely," said the headmaster. "My dear boy, you must see how foolish it would be of me to allow you to remain at the castle when term ends. Particularly in light of the recent tragedy ... the death of that poor little girl .... You will be safer by far at your orphanage. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Magic is even now talking about closing the school. We are no nearer locating the er - source of all this unpleasantness . . . ."
    Riddle's eyes had widened.
    "Sir - if the person was caught - if it all stopped -"
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, chapter 12: "The Polyjuice Potion"

    1b. The second time it was opened, the school was again very nearly shut down.

    "Who is it?" said Madam Hooch, who had sunk, weak-kneed, into a chair. "Which student?"
    "Ginny Weasley," said Professor McGonagall.
    Harry felt Ron slide silently down onto the wardrobe floor beside him.
    "We shall have to send all the students home tomorrow," said Professor McGonagall. "This is the end of Hogwarts. Dumbledore always said. . ."
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, chapter

    However, like the first time, the one responsible was found - Voldemort - and the attacks stopped, again making it safe. Once the attacks stopped, the school was deemed safe again and thus was able to continue operation.

  2. Umbridge

    Ugh, Umbridge. *shudders* This is an isolated case of an abusive teacher.... who, if you'll remember, was there because of the Minister of Magic. The Ministry isn't going to shut down the school because they themselves put an abusive teacher there. After her... incident... at the end of the school year, she was gone and there was no longer an issue. But the Ministry is going to keep mum on it, because she was their fault.

  3. Quirrel

    No students were harmed because of this... aside from of course, Harry. The Quirrel incident was a case of a DADA teacher having an unfortunate end.... something which had been happening for many years at that point, because of the curse on the position. Dumbledore knew the cause of it; nobody at the Ministry did. The Ministry was not going to shut down the school because they knew nothing of what had happened.

  4. Diggory

    The Triwizard Tournament was a historically dangerous competition that always ended in death, which was why it was discontinued in the first place. Since the Ministry decided to reinstate it, it is again on their heads that the death happened... since, of course, they refuse to acknowledge that Voldemort was back and had killed Cedric. This was again the Ministry's fault, not Hogwarts's.

  5. Voldemort's return

    Of course, for quite a while, everyone refused to believe that old Voldy was back. They weren't going to do anything aside from perhaps sack Dumbledore for being a loony for claiming he was back.
    After they finally accepted that he was back, though, everyone knew that Dumbledore was the only wizard that Voldemort had ever feared. It was much safer for the children to be in a place with the most powerful wizard of all time, who Voldemort fears, along with a host of highly powerful and capable wizards (the teachers) than for them to be at home with their parents.

  6. The DADA position

    I'll admit, it is unclear why the DADA position wasn't discontinued after it was clear that something would happen to the teacher every year. But as long as there wasn't any danger to the students, Dumbledore wasn't going to stop such an important subject, and the Ministry didn't start interfering until Harry's fifth year, as they respected Dumbledore and didn't want to cross him. For instance, after it came out that Lupin was a werewolf, he immediately resigned, so they had no reason to take action.

  7. The Battle of Hogwarts

    This was the final, pivotal battle in a war against the worst Dark wizard of all time. Voldemort attacked the school, and they defended it... and defeated him. It came at a high cost, but instead of being the place where students died in a Voldemort attack, it became the place where Voldemort was defeated by the people of Hogwarts. It isn't the school's fault that they were attacked; so why should they get shut down, especially after the attacker was dead? After Voldemort was defeated, all of the school's troubles were over.

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    Re: Umbridge, there's also the complication that for a long time Harry himself refused to report the abuse and consciously decided to hide his injuries out of a misplaced sense of pride. I get the impression from later books that it may well have been unknown by anyone beside Harry's friends, the Order, Fudge and Scrimgeour that Umbridge engaged in physical abuse above and beyond her stated intention (never actually acted upon, IIRC) to re-instate some of the older punishments that Filch was so enamored of. – jmbpiano Oct 25 '19 at 16:16
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    @Pasha, well, except of course, for the fact that both Trelawney and Hagrid were, despite being 'unorthodox', more than qualified for their positions. – Theo Brinkman Oct 25 '19 at 20:11
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    @TheoBrinkman well, Trelawney couldn't actually teach. Yes she was a Seer, but most of her lessons were a show, and even Hermione finally abandoned them. – Ruslan Oct 25 '19 at 22:07
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    @Pasha Corporal punishment in the UK never included things like forcing a student to carve lines into their own flesh... – 520 Oct 28 '19 at 10:41
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    @Ruslan, Trelawney not only could, but did teach. Even in the Potterverse, where magic is real, divination was an 'art', not a 'science'. Most could not do it, regardless of how much training they received in the theory & practice. – Theo Brinkman Oct 28 '19 at 13:18
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The answer is simple: you don't close such an old institution like that, especially with how little outside supervision there seems​ to be, whether from inside or outside the magical world. Plus, everyone wants to keep it open anyway.

The Ministry of Magic seems to be doing very little in the ways of checks and controls over Hogwarts, leaving Dumbledore to his own devices most of the time. They are more concerned with preventing Muggles and the world at large to know about magic, than to reign in the wizards themselves.

Besides, it's Hogwarts, THE school of magic in the UK, one of the oldest, if not the oldest wizard school in the world. Generations upon generations of wizards were educated there, and the place is more or less alive and magic on its own. It's more than a school, it's a living symbol. And you don't get rid of living symbols that easily.

Plus, everyone wants to keep it open: Dumbledore to train young wizards, and especially Harry, in prevision of Voldemort's return, and Voldemort to train a new generation of wizards to serve him and do his bidding. He did want to run it with only one House, after all, the one he was part of when he was being trained there himself.

As for why it was reopened after the Battle of Hogwarts, you only need to compare it to the Battle of Britain in WWII and the damages done by Nazi bombers and V1 to London. There's a big parallel there: Londoners stayed and rebuilt after the war, even the Queen stayed at Buckingham Palace during the air raids, despite fear for her safety.

It's the same thing here: despite all the horrible things that happened, the wizards will rebuild and resume their lives as normal, in defiance of adversity.

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    Not to mention there isn't really a replacement for Hogwarts. If, say, UCLA had to close its main campus because of a giant superhero fight, there are other campuses, other universities, etc. that could handle the overflow. But unless they're going to ship all the students to France, there's really nowhere but Hogwarts. – Cadence Oct 25 '19 at 6:56
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What's the alternative?

Hogwarts is not the best or most respectable or most traditional or most preferable school for wizarding kids, it's the only wizarding school in the region.

The decision to shut down Hogwarts is not equivalent to a decision to shut down a particular school or other institution in our world - Hogwarts is not just a school, it constitutes the whole educational system in the region. The decision to shut down it down is equivalent to shutting down all schools in the country.

It's a decision that might be taken in some circumstances, but it raises the bar much higher, and explains why Hogwarts wasn't shut down in circumstances when an equivalent muggle school would have - in the muggle case, the alternative is to send the kids to some other school; in the Hogwarts case it means a whole generation of wizards that's (at best) homeschooled except for those who can afford to ship their kids to France or USA or whatever.

In real life, if it becomes obvious that the education system in some country is systematically bad and has dangers or horrible abuse (we have real life precedent), then the response is not to shut the whole system down - what does happen in such cases is reform, changing policies, possibly changing leaders, and replacing employees who don't fit the new policies or the new leaders. That's exactly what has been done in response to the events at Hogwarts.

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  • Good points except for the "can afford to ship their kids elsewhere" bit. They're wizards. A trip to France or USA or whatever is as cheap as touching a portkey or any number of other magical means of transport. (Yes, we saw wizards traveling by steamship in the Fantastic Beasts movies, but that's only because they were trying to avoid notice.) There is, of course, a potential language barrier going to some countries, but that's not an issue between UK and US at least. There may also be limited space at these other schools, which would explain it. – Darrel Hoffman Oct 25 '19 at 13:43
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    @DarrelHoffman I'm referring less to the expense of transportation, but more to the expense of getting the kids accepted to the schools - like with real education systems, if UK just decided to close down all schools and ship them off elsewhere (e.g. USA), that elsewhere wouldn't just accept all these students with no funding attached. Hogwarts is the educational system of magical UK+Ireland, so it gets funded by the local ministry of magic, and accepts kids of "local taxpayers", not everyone else. Accepting ex-Hogwarts students is a national-level political decision, just as closing Hogwarts. – Peteris Oct 25 '19 at 14:09
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At first, because Dumbledore didn't decide so, and the parents trust him. And after Umbridge takes office, because the people in charge don't care enough, or worse (later in the story). And why (in the sense of, why does JK Rowling “let that happen?”) It's all political commentary.

To demonstrate this, consider the motivation for wizards having a public administration (Hogwarts, but also the Ministry of Magic) in the first place. Having no issue with basic needs (shelter, food, clothing) being met thanks to magic, a society of wizards doesn't have to raise taxes, build and maintain infrastructure, create a military force etc. The Ministry of Magic therefore has a much narrower focus than a Muggle government (that's why there is only one such Ministry). What would wizards need a government for, then? Broadly speaking, to maintain the peace: to prevent a Dark Lord from ever rising to power again (hence, aurors, the “Unforgivable” part in Unforgivable Curses, Azkaban and the whole judicial apparatus), and to make sure the kids are taught to fend off for themselves (hence Hogwarts, the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, and the whole Defense Against Dark Arts song and dance, useless as it turns out to be).

The fact that many, if not most of these institutions fail or backfire, at least for a time, is of course an Aesop which parallels the real world; e.g. dementors “protecting” Hogwarts are an obvious (and timely) commentary on the dangers of throwing away liberty for the illusion of safety in the face of terrorism / boogeyman du jour. But again like in the real world, the wizards' nation of the British Isles doesn't just give up and throw away its institutions in the face of such setbacks, nor (as has been commented elsewhere already) is it as risk-averse for their kids as modern Western parents are. Regarding Hogwarts specifically, it can be argued that Dumbledore's personal prestige and past actions in the service of wizardry peace (albeit in a rather... personal style, as befits a wizard of course) are enough of a guarantee for parents to grant him what amounts to a direct, if untold, mandate; despite what the Ministry of Magic (at some point) would like parents to believe, he wields much more personal authority and political clout than a head-of-education kind of public servant in a democracy — A quite British notion of legitimacy and government indeed!

Of course, that mandate fades after Rita Skeeter's smear campaign (another fairly transparent Aesop regarding the responsibility of the press), and the time when things start to really go sideways for Howgarts (to the point that neither the elder Weasley brothers, nor Harry Potter and his close friends, bother to attend anymore) is when a regular, “apolitical” public-servant kind of personality, who hates children by her own admission, is appointed in Dumbledore's stead. Long before Voldemort basically turns the entire institution into traitors to their own cause, that administration makes Defense Against Dark Arts teaching useless, waters down grades, makes a mockery of its own misuse of the rule of law etc. while the Ministry propaganda machine is in full force to downplay the actual dangers and keep the kids in a school that doesn't benefit them anymore. Again, the parallel with the real world couldn't be more obvious.

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