Thursday, April 26, 2007

When is an 18 Year Old a Child?

Once more, I am embarassed to admit that a fellow Republican is trying to chip away at our rights. Republican Rep. Tim Murphy says that he will "... introduce a bill that would allow a university to notify a student's parents without fear of violating privacy laws if that student is deemed to be at risk of committing suicide, homicide or physical assault."

When a child becomes an adult at 18, they are entitled to the same privacy that any other adult has. How will they handle the married college students: Do they get special dispensation? Are the spouses notified before the parents? Are the parents notified at all?

We already covertly tell our 18 year olds that they're not full-fledged adults when we refuse to allow them to do the same thing that most adults do: Drink alcohol. Are we going to further muddy the definition by declaring them to be still subject to their parents?

And if we go that far, will we also reduce their criminal sentencing guidelines since they're not fully legally competant? How accountable will their parents be? What if a parent is notified, and, since the child is a legal adult, that parent can do nothing? What if that child becomes a mass murderer like Cho? Would Cho's parents be liable under the new guidelines?

We must make up our minds immediately: Are 18 year olds adults or are they not?

I am more than happy to move the age of adulthood to 21, as it once was. And since studies show that the brain isn't fully developed until age 25, I wouldn't argue moving the age up to even that! But whatever we choose, let us choose wisely and declare a certain age when a child is viewed as an adult both legally and societally.

There needs to be an age where we become a full-adult - not simply a partial one. If an 18 year old can join the military, get married, and be legally fully responsible for herself, then she also needs to be given the other rights that go along with adulthood. To do less is to question both her and ourselves.


AQ said...

Now, wait one second! I don't want the legal age raised to 25! I'm already counting the days to when my 17 year old son can get his own car insurance!

But as to the representative's proposal, I think that is insane. Maybe his parents need to be notified - lol. What can the parents do? They can't force another adult to get help - even if the adult is their own child.

My son has already been told by society that he is not subject to his parents' control - we are only required to support him. I can't imagine that an adult college student who is exhibiting violent tendencies is going to be open to parental interference.

I would like to see colleges and universities send grade reports to the parents if they are paying the tuition bills, but I suppose that could be arranged through some kind of information release agreement. Do the schools offer that? Friends of mine have told me no.

Hans said...

It's nothing more than a gesture. That's what politicians do in the absence of effective ideas. They make a gesture. What he's saying is "I'm doing something to make your kids safer at college. You want your kids to be safer at college don't you? That's why you should vote for me again because I'm doing something." Regardless of the fact it's illogical, impractical and a giant waste of everyone's time and money.

That's what we have going on in the State Government with regards to taxes and insurance. That what we have in the Federal Government in regards to Iraq and Green House gases. No good ideas just gestures.

Emma Sometimes said...

Well, not all college students are of age with homeschooling and high school pre-college programs becoming more and more prominent. This is a great idea only to this extent.

Adults are adults. Leave it at that.

If the school felt it was necessary to inform a parent or emergency contact due to fear of self-inflicted harm to the student (or others) then the student should be requested to get help. Public schools already do this with our children, the government thinks why not adults?

A public school can refuse a child due to disciplinary issues, further if a school nurse deemed a child to be say, ADHD, many school districts can require that the child be medicated to permit them returning to class. I don't see why a college cannot do the same unless lawmakers want to take part in some double speak. And of course, that never happens. ;o)

The Lazy Iguana said...

Of all the rights Republicans have decided to violate, this one ranks pretty low on my personal scale of importance.

How about we just secretly add them to the do not fly list, have secret files on them, wiretap their phones, spy on their email, and put them under secret 24 hour surveillance if they say one of a classified number of "key words". Oh yea and not tell ANYONE.

Or screw it, just throw them in secret jail and not tell anyone. Let the families file missing persons reports and then the case can just go "unsolved". Nobody needs to know about the secret jail hidden in some remote location.

what is this law supposed to accomplish anyway? It has no teeth. The V. Tech gun dude was court ordered into a program, which he never went into.

eshuneutics said...

I think that your have raised a problem here that applies to many issues in society: the notion of "adult" and "responsibiility" is confused in UK society. Parents are held responsible for truanting...even of 18 year olds at college. But why? They are adults. On one hand, society seems to want to rush the idea of adult, whilst holding that term back when it is felt necessary. It goes to show how modern society has lost its hold on rites of passage and the meaningful transition into adulthood and maturity.

Eddo said...

Well said as always!

Hey Saur, I was thinking of you, I am at the airport on my way to Jacksonville, Florida. I'll be there all weekend for the Song of Solomon Conference, First Baptist Church, the one downtown I believe. If you aren't busy and that is anywhere close to you, the conference is awesome, it is from 7-10 Friday night and 9-12 on Saturday. If you happen to have nothing better to do and again if this is close, just ask for me when you get inside.

R2K said...

I understand that Scissors can beat Paper, and I get how Rock can beat Scissors, but there's no fucking way Paper can beat Rock. Paper is supposed to magically "wrap around" Rock, rendering it immobile? Why the hell cant paper do this to scissors? Screw scissors, why can't paper do this to people? Why arent sheets of notebook paper constantly suffocating students as they attempt to take notes in class? I'll tell you why- BECAUSE PAPER CANT BEAT ANYTHING! A rock would tear that shit up in 2 seconds. When I play rock, paper, scissors I always choose rock. Then when somebody claims to have beaten me with their paper, I punch them in the face with my already clenched fist and say "Oh shit, I'm sorry- I thought paper would protect you, asshole.

Scott said...

I am pretty sure that Politicians should not be allowed to introduce any new Bill's after such a tragedy, what a lame ass way to try and pick up votes somewhere. Terrible stuff.

And like you said. how would you hold the parent accountable? What if they are estranged? Too complicated.

Anonymous said...

This is not new, it has been going on for years.

In the famous case of Tarasoff vs. UofC in the 70's, it was established that "Protective privelege ends where public peril begins".

The Duty to Warn falls in the hands of the mental health provider. It is part of their code of ethics and has been for a number of years.

So what this Rep is suggesting is not a surprise to me. The warning extends to the parents of potential victims because of this lawsuit.

daveawayfromhome said...

Saur, you ought to know by now that while you may be a conservative, you arent a Republican, unless you mean solely that you belong to a club called the Republican Party, which can no longer be said to be particularly conservative. This is the kind of meddling that Republicans once decried the Democrats for doing, and now look at them!

Have you read John Dean's book, "Conservatives Without Conscience"? I'm part way through, and it's pretty informative. He cites a guy named Bob Altemeyer who describes the Republican Party as having become Authoritarian rather than Conservative (big "C"), and he apparently does so convincingly and with data.

United We Lay said...

You can't drink until 21, but you're a legal adult at 18? I don't think that makes a whole lot of sense. If you're not mature enough to drink, you're not mature enough to vote, join the Army, move away from home, etc... I think we need to make a decision about when someone is old enought to make decisions for themselves, and I tend to think it's 21.

Anonymous said...

Err...just wondering how can parents in the Uk be held accountable if their 18 yr old is truanting?? College/School is no longer compulsory at that age. Sure if the college is anything like mine your parents'll find out you've been wagging classes cuz you get an "unauthorised absence" card sent home...unless of course you remember to phone the student absence hotline and make your excuses for not showing up first. They're not held responsible for it though.

Texel Tup