It does depend on the middle school. My middle schooler attends a school with 500+ kids on an open campus (multiple buildings--kids walk outside from building to building). There are occasional fights, bad language, drug and sex references by the kids, etc. Some 8th-graders are the size of adults and can be intimidating to a smaller child. My 6th grader has acclimated to this okay, as she is kind of tough and attended a large and diverse elementary, but for some kids we know, it's been a long road this year. As a fourth-grader, she would have been overwhelmed.