[Milton-L] Student referrals

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Apr 18 09:10:57 EDT 2007

I think the most important thing to remember is that we can never
create conditions in which something like this will never happen
again.  If you can blow up a building with a van filled with
fertilizer and other easily obtainable chemicals, even taking all the
guns away won't stop these things from happening.  Someone who wants
to kill a lot of people will always be able to do so with enough time
and planning.  Colleges and Universities will be especially vulnerable
because they attract intelligent people being educated (not
intentionally) in the means of doing so.

That doesn't mean we can't take preventive measures, but that means in
designing them we should keep in mind the effects they have on
everyone else.  My school adopted at the beginning of this year an
anonymous reporting mechanism for at-risk students. In addition, we
implemented a new honor code that -requires- students to report
violations (or they become guilty of a violation themselves). Add to
this a veneer of institutionalized compassion provided by the western
mental health community and we're not very far away at all from
Clockwork Orange or 1984.

Big Brother loves you.

I'm not saying we shouldn't do anything or make any changes, but we
shouldn't expect too much from them, and we shouldn't be too
aggressive about violations of privacy that foster a culture of
paranoia.  If someone is perceived as a threat to themselves or others
they can be Baker Acted.  I'd think more in terms of isolating
individual threats than bigger changes that directly affect everyone.
I think three faculty members reporting concerns about a student
should be enough to require an interview with the campus mental health
practitioner.  Things can go from there.

Jim R

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