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Magic schools, most notably Harry Potter, have the trope of having a dangerous campus, and monsters hiding in different parts. Of course, parents would get angry and do would not want to enroll their kids there. For my magic school, I want to have some of this trope in it, but what could be used to justify a school like that without going out of business?

Notes to mention:

  • My story is not urban fantasy but rather a completely different world
  • Technology is not stagnant, but keeps on evolving
  • The story takes place in the 17th century, or at least their equivalent to it
  • The monsters and dangerous animals do not wander around campus, but are hidden in underground dungeons connected through secret passages and the basement.
  • The school is for ambitious magic users (or the elite)
  • This academy is for teenagers and young adults, so no little kids
  • The academy is very far away from major cities and towns
  • The academy is a boarding school
  • Combat and self-defense is taught, both magic and non-magic weapons
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    $\begingroup$ Check out the Scholomance if you haven't yet. $\endgroup$ Jun 25 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ Are there multiple schools in competition? If there's only one, it can be a deathtrap and people will still beat a path to its door. (And the world will be ruled by the children of ruthless parents.) $\endgroup$
    – Beta
    Jun 25 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ Umm... the world of Harry Potter certainly seems like a very dangerous place, given the abundance of weird things, magical contests, etc., that go on in Hogwarts. That's just a well-known example, and scarcely the only one, given how powerful magic tends to be. I don't think you have to justify the school being a dangerous place at all. If anything, it's the opposite: if you wanted a mage school that was not a rather hazardous place, that is what would need justification and explanation. $\endgroup$
    – Palarran
    Jun 26 at 13:00
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    $\begingroup$ I may go grab it later, but IIRC there was a very dangerous (by HP standards) magic school in the novel Kill Baxter(Sequel to Apocalypse Now Now). I don't remember the exact rationale, but I think a large part of it was that everyone there were by definition misfits, and society at large wouldn't cry real hard over losing them. An attitude that may look rather familiar to anyone who ever attended an US inner city school. $\endgroup$
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 27 at 18:59

18 Answers 18

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The Alternative is More Dangerous

Let's be frank here. Magic fundamentally screws with the laws of reality. It violates entropy without a care, bypasses conservation of mass, and occasionally gives the concept of causality a side glare and decides to make do without it entirely. Magic is fundamentally very, very dangerous.

Anyone with magic and no knowledge of how to properly use it can and will kill themselves with it by accident, especially if this is a universe where new mages have little control of their power. Thus, any environment where a new mage is learning is dangerous. And it is also assumed that the world of mages is a dangerous place - imagine a world where the average person walks around with a flamethrower strapped to their back and/or can knock over buildings if they feel like it.

It can be safe to assume that the survival rate of wizards to adulthood isn't anywhere near 100% - maybe it's as low as 60%, or even worse. Thus, the concept of a magic school. The environment will be dangerous anyway, so take all that danger and place it somewhere else where very wise and experienced mentors can keep an eye on the youngsters and try and keep the death and maiming to a minimum.

As to why hazards are allowed in the school, well, there are two explanations - the first is that they are created by accident as a by product of the students magics. A lab accident can create chimaeras, students can accidentally summon demons, etc. etc. The second is that it's a deliberate choice because the students need to be trained against actual challenges, and, yes, some will die but the survivors will gain valuable experience that they need and wouldn't have otherwise. (And likely both are true for the school).

In short, the mages will be put into dangerous situations regardless, the school just has a higher survival rate.

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    $\begingroup$ Nailed it, great answer. $\endgroup$ Jun 24 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ Real world example: Variolation, the precursor to vaccination. The fatality rate was 1-2%, but parents did it anyway because a small chance of losing a little kid was better than a much greater chance of losing them later. (Basically vaccination with the live, unattenuated agent.) $\endgroup$ Jun 25 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ Indeed, the dangerous creatures within the school might be tamed/caged versions of those that roam around unmanaged outside the school. If your parents had spent the first 11 years of your life desperately defending you from various dangers, they'd be happy to outsource that defence to a school (which presumably has a good record of keeping its students alive and able to fend for themselves on departure). $\endgroup$ Jun 27 at 9:34
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Why Parents would allow it?

Well, if you're going for a 17th century vibe, the attitude towards children was very different than it was today. During the early industrial revolution, children were considered a resource to be exploited, not like the pets that we coddle and unconditionally protect with everything we have like we do today. Muggle children are sent to work in factories where they lose both life and limb to dangerous machines. Some are sent to do back breaking labor on farms. Some are sent to work as chimney sweeps were they develop chronic respiratory illnesses that significantly shorten thier lives. Some are sent out into the forests and swamps to hunt dangerous animals. In many early industrial societies, the child mortality rate was as high as 50% due in large part to the dangerous work conditions children were sent into... so, the thought of sending a magic child to a school filled with monsters and curses is really no worse than sending a normal child to work at the local textile mill.

It's all about child exploitation: having trained wizards for children is a very useful household asset; so, few parents at the time would think twice about sending thier children to a magic school because childhood death is just a normal part of life.

Also, while they MIGHT get eaten by a troll, this may be considered an acceptable risk compared to all the other benefits of being at a magic school. If they catch the plague, or tetanus, or polio they will have access to MAGIC to cure it. So the perception may be that the school is just as safe as any alternative. "Boy! Stop complaining about the trolls. At least you didn't lose your arm in a cotton gin like the Anderson boy down the street."

Why are the hazards there?

Every parent knows that if you give a child a crayon, they will draw on the walls. If you give them something they can climb on, they will fall off of it. So, what happens when you give a child magic is somewhat inevitable. Kids are careless and they take pleasure breaking rules. The wizards who run the school actually do everything they can to clean up the messes left behind by students, but just like the gum that lines the underside of every middle school desk, there will always be the random pocket dimension or pet dragon left behind by a previous student for new students to discover.

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    $\begingroup$ Why would someone draw on the walls with all these delicious crayons? $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Jun 24 at 22:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Tom Opportunity cost. You can always eat the crayon after you've drawn on the walls, but you can't draw on the walls after eating the crayons. $\endgroup$
    – wizzwizz4
    Jun 25 at 12:24
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    $\begingroup$ You're a little overly harsh. Parents back then didn't love their children any less. It's just that life was harder and the post-industrial bounty we have now was nearly non-existent. Everybody worked, as much as they were capable of, because the alternative was starvation. But concern for the well-being of children, and even orphans, was a common topic in the things they wrote about. They just can't have a joyous, carefree existence if there's no food. $\endgroup$
    – Perkins
    Jun 25 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ On the r/K offspring strategy spectrum modern humans are extremely K type. We pour all the resources into raising around 2 offspring. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Jun 26 at 6:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Perkins Once a civilization normalizes abuse, they build value systems to justify it. Yes, many children were sent to work because it was necessary, but those parents then had to find ways to justify it. So they adopt mantras like "hard work builds character", "spare the rod, spoil the child", "Everyone must pull their own weight", etc. to ease their guilt, but these ideas then spread across not just through the poor masses, but to those in power because they are helpful for justifying optional abuse too. Even rich kids were sent to boarding schools where daily whippings were normal. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jun 27 at 21:17
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They are not students. They are apprentices.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apprenticeship

The children enrolled in this school are apprentice magicians. They are given room and board and a small stipend in addition to training. In return they are expected to pay the school back with several years of their time and labor once they are trained. Graduating students are usually loaned out by the school to work for paying customers; some few stay to work at the school.

It is a good deal for the school which gets cheap magical labor in exchange for a small upfront investment. It is a good deal for employers who need garden variety magicians because they can hire new grads with the schools imprimateur. It is a good deal for working class parents who do not need to support the child and who get the stipend. Noble born students are a rarity and each has a story.

The school does want to protect its investments. Aggressive monsters and other outrageous hazards do get dealt with by the school, often by recent graduates paying off their training. Lesser hazards are dealt with in a more desultory fashion. A certain degree of hazard is deemed to produce a more robust apprentice. The students are also a hazard to each other. Most of the monsters and supernatural hazards occurring in the school are there as a result of various student activities.

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Magic could be something which cannot be contained inside a person who can use it. There is no, "Oh, I will just not do magic". Magic leaks from magic users unless it is utilized safely. Leaking magic causes problems (mutating animals, plants, or people) in the local area and can even open gateways to other realms where monsters roam. Magic users are sought out because they will cause problems unless they are trained. Refusing to be trained is not an option. The person is a danger to themselves and others. Kids are sent there by their parents because the parents know that if they do not send their kids, they risk losing their own lives and the lives of their other children. The school is isolated for this purpose. Those who learn control and mastery can become extreme powerful, but those who fail are at least in an environment capable of containing/combating whatever destruction they might release.

Think of it like Cyclopes from X-Men. Every time he opens his eyes, beams of energy shoot out. He needed special gear to be able to prevent the damage he would do just by existing. Sure, while he is awake he might be able to keep his eyes tightly shut, but what if he gets startled or right when he wakes up. For most people, it is an automatic reflex to open your eyes when you wake up. The magic could be something like that. Useful, but violently dangerous. If that was the case, the school would be seen as a much better option than simply being forced to kill the child. If your kid might accidentally open a portal to a hell dimension, killing them might be your only option. A creepy old man saying he will take your kid and give them a 50% chance of surviving is better than the alternative of 100% likely to die. Even if the parents refused to kill their kid, the neighbors would do it to protect their own families. Nobody wants to live next to a reactor that everyone knows will randomly explode one day.

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The school was erected before the monsters were discovered

Perhaps the school had to be built in this particular spot for some reason.

  • Maybe this was the only piece of land the founders could afford with the gift that established the school.
  • Maybe this is the parcel of land donated by the sovereign.
  • Maybe your magic is influenced by stuff like ley lines, which occur in specific places regardless of what humans want.
  • Maybe it's just conveniently situated near a body of water that permits easy transport of students and supplies.
  • Maybe there were already ruins on the site, and the founders decided to take advantage of that.
  • Maybe the school was secretly founded by a powerful demon who is bound to a specific place by some curse, and the demon is hoping to cultivate a few unscrupulous magic-users who it can then persuade into defeating the curse.

In any case, this is where the school is. The monsters were discovered later when the burgeoning school tried to expand its campus. So, it sucks that there are monsters, and a labyrinth. But it's still not an option to relocate the school. And it would be bad for business, since the school has taken the name of this locale, so moving it would undermine the currency of its brand.

And anyway: this isn't a school for babies, so they don't have baby-locks on the cabinets, nor are there baby-gates on the stairs. They have real knives in the commissary (and coffee!), and real scissors in the crafting basket. And basilisks in the sub-basement.

So, every semester the Deans of the Martial & Mystical Arts lead the top students from their respective Dean's Lists on expeditions (for course-credit) to purge the monsters in the areas of the labyrinth that are closest to the occupied quarters of the campus.

Actually, it's probably not the Deans themselves, but the heads of the various departments and their TAs who lead the expeditions, and they take Dean's List students who intend to complete their degree at the end of the current semester (or die trying).

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    $\begingroup$ Collocation of school and monsters cannot credibly be a coincidence. Which caused the other to appear is a fundamental part of the history. Until our intrepid protagonist discovers the opposite is true… $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Jun 25 at 19:50
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Experience points are real

Getting to be a higher level mage actually requires experience points, just like in a role-playing game. Why? Well, it turns out that the many-worlds interpretation is a thing. I'm not saying a near-infinite number of worlds have to exist, but some significant number do. And the magic that comes to you, from whatever its source may be, is shared among your parallel-universe selves, at least within some branching distance back in time. UNLESS they are dead, that is.

You the magic user know that copies of yourself will go on into more than one universe. If you die in one, you still live in another, so it's not really dying, is it? And there's all that POWER to play with then. If you aren't willing to do that small a thing for power, surely you aren't the stuff wizards are made of.

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In-universe Trope fulfilment

Magic is ultimately that which makes things happen according to a desired narrative rather than impersonal physical laws.

As a school that teaches young people to make reality conform to narratives, it is fitting that it, too, satisfies a few inherited narrative conventions/tropes.

It provides a crucial 'soft limit' or guiding principle to help keep things coherent, which is important when you have hormone ridden teenagers altering reality itself. The teenagers are best kept unaware of it by default.

Tom Riddle could have been like Stalin, but instead he was really just a public school bully; in-universe trope fulfillment worked amazingly well at constraining him, he didn't dream big. Maybe Grindelwald did, but he died.

The current 'dangerous as hell public school' is the current favourite style (both in and out of universe). At other times it might be a sober monastery, or a zany university, or an arcane and esoteric tower, but whatever style is in fashion in-universe, the school will exemplify it; the monastery will be REALLY sober, the university will be REALLY chaotic and full of hijinks, and the tower will be more or less undescribable.

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The monsters are required for the school to function.

The monsters in the dungeon might be dangerous, but without them the school would not be able to operate. For example:

  • The presence of magical creatures produces something which allows the school to exist. Perhaps without the presence of the creatures it would not be possible for so many wizards to exist in the same place. Or perhaps their presence makes it easier to cast spells, making it easier to learn them.

  • Their presence prevents other magical creatures from appearing. When a lot of wizards cast a lot of spells in the same area, then all that reality bending can can cause dangerous magical creatures to appear out of thin air. This would be a serious problem in a magic school. But that effect does not happen when there are already magical creatures in the vicinity. So by keeping a menagerie of creatures in the basement, they prevent additional creatures from spawning and allow their hundreds of students to practice their spellcasting safely.

  • Interaction with various magical creatures is a requirement of mastering magic. One can not properly use fire magic until they fought a balrog. One can not magically shape rocks until they were petrified by a medusa and then turned back to life through fresh saliva of a basilisk. One can not control water until they cuddled with the kraken. This is not merely a cultural aspect of wizard community but a mechanical fact of how magic works in your universe. So the school keeps all those monsters locked in the basement. It provides the students with the opportunity to go through these experiences in a controlled environment.

    Some overconfident and impatient students will probably attempt to sneak into the basement and try to make these experiences on their own before their teachers consider them ready. Which could have disastrous consequences. Not just for them but also for the rest of the school if they accidentally let some of those creatures escape. But the school will probably have some security precautions in place to keep unauthorized students out of the basement and to calm any worried parents. And no student will ever figure out a way to circumvent them, right?!?

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"Everything in the world is magic....except to the magicians."

  • Dr. Robert Ford, co-creator of sentient machines/Westworld

More in my experience was the way an old engineer once put it, upon someone calling something he did "magical", the old engineer scoffed at the idea...."nothing I did here was magical, it's just an indication I've been doing this a long time....anything that seems magical is just not documented thoroughly enough.".

The problem with the lore of Magic is that it's other-worldly, secret societies , alternate dimensions, and several zoos full of mythical creations and dangerous organisms.

Approaching it non-methodically is problematic at best, and something that eventually we'd have to deal with. As a society the scientific process would HAVE to be brought to bear, on the entirety of the magical world.

It's not after all magic, it's just an aspect of nature or something about the natural world that's VERY close at hand , that is not discovered.

For example, you have a provable example of Gryphons or the fact that death itself can be counteracted or there are processes that can allow one to alter time.

This creates a whole set of circumstances that would be important to our species overall, muggles and magical folk alike, and eventually all of it would be part of what we do as a society.

So the vast bulk of magic is craftwork/trainable stuff that you can use in every day circumstances.

Some magic is wildly dangerous , akin to nuclear weapons or biological weapons. As we see from the lore, whether it's Harry Potter, or the Lord of the Rings, or Marvel Universe; we'd need rules, as they say over in /r/Rimworld the "Geneva Suggestions" for magic. Of course not everyone might adhere to those protocols but just imagine what we'd be capable of as a species, both terrible and terrific in terms of it's potential for our local star-system , and indeed the galaxy.

So take teleportation, transportation, particularly initial explorations of things, would be radically transformed, why bother slowly sending rockets and engineers to Mars, Luna or Mercury when you can build and send an entire city to these places by teleportation.

There are real and serious engineering questions, is the Hocus Pocus of disappearing pigs, scalable at an industrial level....can it be automated, perhaps it's best to use that for emergency responders to miracle critically injured patients immediately to an ER.

Or what is to be done with creatures like Deatheaters or other perhaps nastier creatures that lurk in areas ill-explored even by those with a deep understanding of Magic.

In this way, The most interesting Lore/world is that I think of Avatar, where there are societies where a type of telepresence and telekinesis exists as a "real thing" and some people have it and some people don't.

In the science fiction series Babylon 5, the notion of telepaths is explored, and in many societies they form a particular caste or group of specialists, of course in Terran society, they become a separate society, that thinks itself better than "mundanes", and if anyone thinks this sounds familiar it should.

Ultimately,

It's not a question of JUST how we deal with the craft and engineering , it's easy enough to say Hogwarts becomes a satellite campus of Oxford University and that's that.

But really it's a story about something we can't really have. It's really about how we as a society stay informed on matters scientific, it's a strange siren's call, back to a "simpler" age , with obscure knowledge and secret societies which creates all the problems that go against the decidedly unromantic notions that modern industrial/technologically advanced societies have to deal with.

It's a HUGE problem that we deal with in fits and starts, how do you impart to everyone in society the notion of responsibility, of having to learn stuff you might not like , so you as a citizen or we, as a society can make informed decisions.

So Hogwart's needs an OSHA office, and a hospital, and a major rethink on how students are trained on potentially dangerous magic, that would be one classroom over from how students are trained to deal with acids or microbiological agents, or creating AI's, which is across the hallway from an Ethics and Civics class, and a class in statistics, and just around the corner from a class in best practices for experimental methods and design of experiments, which is just around the way from the office of safety.

Hogwart's, and other magical schools, would be FAR less romantic, but also far more important. Magicians would take their place not as great mages and obscurant sorcerers and witches, but as venerable engineers, artists and scientists, doctors and legal scholars, auror's become detectives, and prosecutors; in short Magic is transformed....into science.

Of course there are those who would say "we loose the magic in the process...", which is just not true. The threshold of science exists, and will for thousands of years to come; even if it's not in our common experience, and that threshold is nothing if not magical.

Scientists of every stripe will tell you of the exhilaration or trepidation of discovering something new. Just as artists will tame or entertain their muse, so too scientists combine creativity with craft at the edges of science and create new knowledge for humanity. So be it the vaccine that saves millions, or the machine learning algorythm that passes the Turing Test with flying colors, or the rocket that makes interplanetary or interstellar travel more safe, commercially viable and commonplace.

When you know where to look, magic is all around us, every day. We just don't often think about it as magic.

If you or I went back 1000 years and tried to explain this conversation to someone, that's probably the only way they could understand it, I'm magically communicating across the entire planet to any number of people, this radical notion, that each of us...every day....performs magic....we just don't recognize it that way.

And we didn't do it because we all became knowledgeable in some obscura or secret knowledge, we were able to do it because some rather smart people decided to make a tool that did some tiny , tiny portion of this process, and some other rather smart person came along and built on top of that.....and this process as repeated for thousands of years; slowly at first.....fire....the wheel....agriculture....gunpowder....the printing press...the internet.. all of these inventions were the result of a patient examination of nature and sometimes painstakingly slow research, and sometimes wildly radical epiphanies.

And there's the rub, the great paradox, when you realize....we are the magicians....where the muse of mythical times that would inspire the wizards of old....still visits ....the mages and sorcerers of our time....those students and professors and learners of skills that are still obscurant and in one single ESSENTIAL moment is transformed from myth and lore into science, there is but one rule, that one must convince the always skeptical eye the rigorous test, a rule that says "prove it.".

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    $\begingroup$ Whilst I heartily agree with the sentiment, this is rather long-winded and seems to somewhat evade the point of the question which as about exposing children to danger. Could you edit to add this to your splendid argument to avoid closure as low-quality. (We're a strict Q&A site, per se) Please read the help center's bit about how to write a good answer. $\endgroup$ Jun 25 at 21:53
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From narrative perspective, danger is an easy means of conflict. And conflict drives stories. It is easy to suppose you want danger to be present to be able to drive some part of your story.

That's the way life is.

In universe, It should be expect any competent management to have evaluated the risks, and taken steps to mitigate what risks they could. However in a universe with magic, it is likely that risks in general are high(compared to non magic earth norm) and campus is not much more dangerous then homes.

The highest increase in risk is most likely caused by a gathering of inexperienced people handling a powerful tool that can cause harm. IE the highest risk is the students themselves.

In other words magic is a tool, generally a powerful tool, the more powerful/ useful a tool is the easier it is to turn into a weapon. That is there is considerable risk just from other students, teachers and other magical users never mind the environment.

Or more pithily:

When I was growing up, that's just the way life was.

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  • My story is not urban fantasy but rather a completely different world
  • Technology is not stagnant, but keeps on evolving
  • The story takes place in the 17th century, or at least their equivalent to it

All those are a good background. Let's reorder the other parts and explain them:

  • The school is for ambitious magic users (or the elite)
  • The academy is very far away from major cities and towns
  • The academy is a boarding school
  • This academy is for teenagers and young adults, so no little kids

Young magic wielders are irresponsible. So we send them to a boarding school far away from the parents that could be incinerated in a hissyfit from the pubescent teen - and to shield society from the accidents that can and will happen if you let teens play with what accounts to hand grenades, flamethrowers, and machineguns: Some students will die. That's tragic but the price for magic.

  • Combat and self-defense is taught, both magic and non-magic weapons
  • The monsters and dangerous animals do not wander around campus, but are hidden in underground dungeons connected through secret passages and the basement.

Actually, let me rephrase that: It's not a boarding school, it is a military academy. Call it Magical Westpoint. Or rather, it might be the Magical branch of the Military Academy of Modena, founded 1678, or Woolwich, founded 1720/41, or whatever the country in question has. In fact, the 17th century is perfect to start such a school.

To test the mettle of the coming magical officers, there is a secret basement or ten. The all dreaded field excursions take place there. The monsters are imported deliberately to give the students a hard challenge and a vent to get rid of their aggressions on the beasts instead of other students.

Post Grad

After graduation, the students are serving their King as an army of very well-respected officers, leading the soldiers in red coats while themselves wearing the flashiest of scarlet, never to duck or run. They lead the charge of the Winged Hussars not just with couched lances, but fireballs and lightning accompany their units. They yell "Cut them down" while charging through enemy lines on hooves of Brimstone wielding swords gleaming in otherworldly light that cut armor like butter. They carry their serial number like a stamp of pride on their chest, bound to their ruler who carries tie 1.

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The best place for a school is over a Hellmouth.

Maybe not literally like the one from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but there's something about the environment that makes it best for a school and monsters.

Say that, as in Larry Niven's stories, the mana in an area can be depleted by overuse. Your school has at least a few dozen low-level spellcasters and their teachers doing magic all the time, plus the 24-hour wards to keep it all contained. They would have to locate it on a ley line, mana well, or some other place where it's easier for magic to be performed.

And such a place is the only place where monsters can exist, so they're drawn to it.

Or, like @Phillipp says, the monsters themselves are the source of mana.

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The school is for ambitious magic users (or the elite)

There's not a lot of details to go off of regarding your world. But, from this line, it sounds like there are many magic schools, and the one in question stands out as providing both notably more danger and notably better education. It's a gamble. So here's your reason:

Hubris

"Sure, the stories are scary, but that'll never happen to me."

The people who attend this school in particular are a small fraction of people attending magic schools. If the school produces significantly better results, then those who choose the school in question are those seeking to be the best, and therefore those capable of thinking they can be the best (or in the case of parental enrollment, those who think their children are the best). If only a small fraction of students end up in an accident, then someone might assume that it's because they were too foolish to avoid the situation, or too unskilled to survive it. Many of these students really are as good as they think. Many of them aren't. For some, their skill or natural talent doesn't even matter, because it can often just boil down to bad luck.

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If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

JK Rowling is the most successful author in the history of writing because of what she wrote and how she wrote it, and the "what" there is more important than the "how."

The secret of her world-beating success is largely how she balances good against bad on so many levels, including the fact that yes, the Hogwarts world features dangers.

Without the dangers, it would be a world of pussy-foots…

Contrast Hogwarts with real-world military training where sometimes, soldiers will die if they fail to dodge live bullets.

You listed nine ideas in the OQ but which, to you, is important?

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It's not actually that dangerous

Yeah, yeah, monsters, magic, chases, near-escapes, etc., etc., etc..

But how often does anyone actually die?

Or even suffer permanent injury?

In Harry Potter, for example, student deaths are something that happens every few decades.

Hogwarts is actually safer than most modern schools. And that's even leaving out deliberate violence. You'd be more likely to be crippled or killed playing sports at a modern school than attending Hogwarts, even if you made the Quiddich team.

And you'll notice that when things started to get actually dangerous, parents started taking their children elsewhere. Not the main characters, but there is mention of other students leaving.

If the point of school is to teach children how to be successful at living, then you want to introduce them to as many dangers and hazards that they might meet in the real world as you possibly can, while still maintaining a controlled environment where you can prevent as many injuries as possible. The more powerful magic is in your world, the more the dangers it can bring, and the more serious the training of children will need to be if you want them to survive past graduation.

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Of course any power is hazardous, but at your school you teach how to harness that power for the Good.

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The monsters were brought there long time ago (and it is not known by many)

My justification is almost like how it is explained in Harry Potter as you gave that example as well. It also makes the most sense in my opinion. I believe you are not trying to justify why magic is dangerous (as it is kinda obvious), you are trying to justify why there are dangerous creatures in the school.

The dangerous creatures were brought to the school long time ago and they were hidden in a place that is not easily accessible. I believe you could also say that the creatures were a baby when they were first brought to the school and they were not as dangerous or not dangerous at all that time. The creatures were possibly brought by one of the founders who is more conservative with a hidden agenda, behind the scenes, in times when there weren't many measures or control. There are certain or secret ways to be able to access to this hidden place/dungeon.

If there are creatures outside the campus: Because it is a magical world and there are dangerous magical creatures in the nature. (as you mentioned, they are not wandering around inside the campus)

Here is a relevant excerpt about Basilisk (a dangerous giant magical serpent) in Hogwarts from Harry Potter:

Salazar Slytherin was responsible for the construction of the Chamber of Secrets beneath Hogwarts dungeons. It was specifically created for the purpose of purging the school of all Muggle-born students. The Chamber contained a Basilisk, which could be controlled only by his own true heir, and use her to rid the school of all those he considered unworthy to study magic. In 1943, when heir Tom Marvolo Riddle opened the Chamber he used the Basilisk to attack Muggle-borns.

harrypotter.fandom.com

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The presence of monsters is not intentional.

They are a byproduct of certain magical experiments by the teaching staff or perhaps a result of mistakes by the students. The school does its best to clean up the monster infestation or at least to confine it to somewhere they aren't likely to attack anyone, like the underground passages.

Students are expressly forbidden to go into the basement. But of course kids will be kids and many will still sneak into the basement and the underground dungeons.

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