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Friday, February 10, 2006

Personal responsibility

An interesting resonance among four recent but different news and/or entertainment items:
  • Last month, students in a certain well-regarded suburban high school report that “other kids” (of course it’s always other kids) have been selling or giving Ritalin to their classmates as a way of boosting energy, getting better grades, and incidentally getting high.

  • On Wednesday’s episode of Law & Order, a teenager murder denied responsibility for his acts because of his medication (a fictional one that seemed to be a combination of Ritalin and Prozac). Then it turned out that he hadn’t even been taking it, but had been selling or trading it to his classmates.

  • In yesterday’s Dorchester Reporter, former Dorchester District Court Judge James Dolan writes about personal reponsibility:
    Two Milton youths, undoubtedly with the support and encouragment of family members, have begun lawsuites to establish their schools violated their civil rights. One, a Milton High School senior, charges that boys are discriminated against in the school system and cites as an example that girls do better academically than boys.... He proposed remedial action such as pass/fail marking. That would blur the distinction between the academically gifted and others either not as talented or hardworking.

    ...The other suit is against Milton Academy, brought by a former student...charged with statutory rape and expelled. The suit suggests that the school failed to inform them there was anything wrong with that. Had the student handbook indicated that kind of behavior was not tolerated, he probably would have avoided that conduct.
  • Yesterday, there was a story on Marketplace (NPR) about this — not about any particular school, but about selling Ritalin as a nationwide problem, especially in colleges.

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