Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Loco Parentisitus

This WSJ Op-Ed underscores the rather absurd position colleges are finding themselves in with respect to students. Through privacy laws and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, it's arguable that the system has no right to release information to parents on things such as grades, disciplinary actions, and so forth, regardless of who pays the tab. But if that same student becomes suicidal or alcoholic, the school can be sued for failing to recognize the signs and act upon them. Unless I'm missing something, the rule of thumb appears to be treat them like an adult until something goes wrong, then you're on the hook for not babysitting them. Shouldn't we really consider making up our minds whether college students are kids or grown-ups?

via Point of Law Forum

On a related note, this Des Moines Register article discusses a new Department of Human Services budget plan to expand foster-care benefits to young adults through age 21. Again, the theory is that these people need a parent's help to get health-care coverage, figure out college financial-aid forms, and to help them over rough patches when a refrigerator or car breaks down.

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