Alcohol, drug use: Colleges should tell parents
Call me old-fashioned, but I’m wondering why any school would keep that information from parents.
Under the old Virginia Tech rule, parents learned about major infractions but didn't always hear about minor ones. So if a kid was busted for having a beer in his dorm room, his parents wouldn’t necessarily find out. Now they will.
The university said that the policy change was prompted by requests from parents, who were often surprised to learn that minor violations had occurred before major ones--and that the accumulation of such violations was leading to expulsion.
Some are already saying that Virginia Tech is “taking the fun” out of college, that college is a time for experimentation and that the school should leave well enough alone.
Drinking under the age of 21 is against the law. There are a lot of arguments made that 21 is too high--and even some college presidents have publicly called for lowering the legal drinking age. But that's what the law is now. We all pick the laws we choose to break (speed limits being one of them), knowing that there are consequences if we get caught.
If a parent isn’t terribly concerned about their child having a drink or two or three and tells his/her kid to find better ways to hide the beer, so be it. That’s what a friend told me he’d do if his kid’s college called with a report of some minor drinking infraction.
But it shouldn’t be up to a school to decide which violations of law are severe enough for notifying a parent and which are not.
Under a federal law known as FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)/a>, schools aren’t allowed to tell parents many things about their kids who are 18 years old and over.
For example, parents cannot obtain information about their child’s grades, and colleges will not reveal most disciplinary actions or health issues. There is a provision in FERPA that allows schools to tell parents about drug and alcohol violations--but the law does not require it.
I’d vote for schools to tell parents, for the parents make their own judgments, and for kids to be smarter about when, where and whether they drink.
Go ahead and tell me why I'm wrong.
Follow my blog all day, every day by bookmarking http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/
Follow all the Post’s Education news & blogs on our Facebook fan page, the "PostSchools" feed on Twitter or our Education home page at http://washingtonpost.com/education.
| February 2, 2010; 6:24 PM ET
Categories: College Life, Health | Tags: college life, drinking, virginia tech
Save & Share: Previous: Duncan, his apology and clean slates
Next: Why I doubt the abstinence-only sex ed study
Posted by: someguy100 | February 2, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mybellringers | February 3, 2010 6:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AnotherMom | February 3, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: sideswiththekids | February 3, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.