Friday, April 27, 2007

SHOULD WE TEST TEACHERS?

At South Carolina State University last night the Democratic presidential hopefuls had their first debate. The questioner could not resist asking about the tragedy at Virginia Tech. The ones that got to answer are ready to change the laws about students with mental illness. One went so far to say he thought they should not be allowed to return to their dorms if they had been given a diagnosis. To the last one they seemed eager to assure the voting public that they would take every measure not to let another mentally ill student do such a thing as happened at Virginia Tech.
Wait a minute! The murderer at Virginia Tech was sent for an evaluation, but if the media reports are correct he was not committed to the hospital. I have not heard nor read any report that this individual had a diagnosis of a serious mental illness. The presidential hopefuls were talking about something without all the facts, but I guess that is not really all that different than what they do most of the time.
Since there are not only students at schools and colleges, should we demand that the teachers and professors have a clean mental health record? Absurd you say! Not anymore ridiculous than what has been said since the shooting at Virginia Tech.
We could be talking about how to embrace the person who seems to feel like an outsider rather than how to throw away folks with mental illness. We can learn from what happened in Blacksburg, VA or we can let it turn our hearts black.

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