The War on... education?
October 24, 2000 4:55 AM   Subscribe

The War on... education? It's estimated that 7000 US college students will lose their entitlement to at least some financial aid because of previous drug convictions. Which is nice. Now, the follies of the "war on drugs" are well-documented, but this takes the cake. I thought that punishment was for the criminal justice system to dispense...
posted by holgate (19 comments total)
"punishment was for the criminal justice system to dispense".

Oh holgate, you crazy lad! Everything is punitive nowadays -- that's how you control the coloreds and make everything safe for Suburban White Children (the only group that matters in the entire universe).

...say, you ain't one of them damn foreigners, are you? You sound mighty suspicious-like. I heard some of them commies have funny names like yours....

(argh. now my head hurts)
posted by aramaic at 6:23 AM on October 24, 2000

Hmm... so we should reward drug usage with grant money? I can't really see the problem with this law. The money will go to someone truly deserving, who kept their nose clean.
posted by owillis at 7:17 AM on October 24, 2000

I dunno, owillis, I'm pretty staunchly anti-drug, but I agree with holgate. If someone is convicted of a crime and serves their sentence, whatever it may be, then that should be the end of it. Otherwise, by denying someone the chance to better themselves because of their past sins, aren't you basically sticking a boot in their face and saying that they aren't good enough to go to college anymore?
posted by ethmar at 7:40 AM on October 24, 2000

I don't see how "truly deserving" and "dirty nose" are mutually exclusive. This is an outrageous policy whose only outcome will be to distance college from those who need it most. Let's say you've just been denied a college loan because of this. Is your response going to be, "Well, better keep my nose clean for two years!" Or will it be, "Well, there goes college. Time to hit the bong, and maybe stick up the liquor store later."

If you feel so strongly about this, why stop at the minimally punitive step of college education? Why "reward" drug usage with, say, voting rights? Driver's licenses? Home loans? The ability to breed? What's this world coming to when the casual pot smoker is still allowed to cross the street?
posted by luke at 7:47 AM on October 24, 2000

it's not about rewarding drug usage. if that were the case, we'd be advocating that all drug users get grants :>

I can't remember where I was reading about this just last week, but there was a story of a student who got stopped in a traffic stop, the cops somehow found half a joint in his *passenger's* pocket, and the student driving the car got slapped with some charges, convicted, and is now not sure he'll be able to finish his schooling because without the aid money, he can't afford it.

How does this person deserve punishment even *once*, much less *twice*, much less jeopardizing completion of his education because someone in his car had a joint?! Wish I could remember where this story was so you didn't have to take my word on it, but this is the way the "war on drugs" works: zero tolerance seems to equal zero common sense.

furthermore, the effect of this law will be of disproportionate impact on disadvantaged students. Imagine a hypothetical smirking Yale kid today, caught with a gram of coke and convicted: it wouldn't faze him a bit to lose college aid; in fact, chances are he never had to have any at all because Daddy's money is paying him through. No sweat for him. Not so for the poor kid who needs that aid to go to school at all. That's wrong.

but hey, as long as our *noses are clean*.
posted by Sapphireblue at 7:56 AM on October 24, 2000

Daddy's money is paying him through.

What, Daddy can't afford a lawyer to get his kid "off"? What kind of rich guy is this?!
posted by ethmar at 8:05 AM on October 24, 2000

doh, you're so right. my bad.
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:08 AM on October 24, 2000

owillis... i'm so disapointed in you!

it's not about "who keeps their nose clean"... that kind of logic is tantamount to saying we should have cops with rifles on every corner, because if you're not doing anything wrong you won't get in trouble. some people choose to use drugs, if they get caught, they're punished by the courts. what on earth does that have to do with whether or not you're deserving of student loans?

they're entirely separate issues, linked only by the consistant effort on the part of those in poser to quash anyone that steps out of line.


posted by Niccola Six at 8:50 AM on October 24, 2000

err... i of course was referring to those in "power"... not those in "poser"... whatever that might mean.

posted by Niccola Six at 8:51 AM on October 24, 2000

"Those in poser" actually made sense to me...but i'm not done with my morning mocha yet.

I would like to see some hard facts and statistics on the socio-economic backgrounds of the students denied aid...if anyone could dig that up it'd be swell.

posted by th3ph17 at 9:47 AM on October 24, 2000

This is such a stupid idea. How many more kids are going to have to finance their way through college by dealing drugs now that their grants have been cut off? We're just creating the next generation of the-guys-down-the-hall-who-can-get-the-primo-weed.
posted by grimmelm at 10:45 AM on October 24, 2000

mmmm. primo weed. This sounds like a good idea after all.
posted by snakey at 11:32 AM on October 24, 2000

Hey kids, better stay clean and drug free, so you can go to college, get in a good fraternity, go to some keggers and get a head start on becoming a good American alcoholic.
posted by Optamystic at 11:39 AM on October 24, 2000

I don't approve of this policy either, but I think it is far less upsetting than felons losing the right to vote (or own a gun, which I am not thrilled about either, but I must remain constant). I am assuming that this policy is in part designed to keep drug dealing kids out of school, so they do not turn other kids on to stuff they might not encounter otherwise. The policy is wrong, but at least it is known. They are telling the kids right?
I have always been in the sXe camp, and would never have considered financial aid, so I am totally out of this game. My last girlfriend before I met my wife was a resident alien from Canada. There is a zero tollerance policy toward resident aliens, and she did not want to be deported to a country that she had never lived in. She being not at all straight edge, did the stuff she wanted to do, but was VERY careful never to allow anything like drugs into her car, or into our home. It may not be fair, but until it changes there are serious consequences. Looks like the old permanent record grew some teeth.
posted by thirteen at 12:29 PM on October 24, 2000

Ooh, ooh, Scarlet Ds for everyone!
posted by daveadams at 1:39 PM on October 24, 2000

No, no, a scarlet D isn't nearly punitive enough -- what politician could possibly support it? Nobody is having their life irretrievably ruined!
posted by aramaic at 1:48 PM on October 24, 2000

What's a scarlet d ???
posted by Zool at 4:09 PM on October 24, 2000

What's a scarlet d ???

Don't they force kids to read The Scarlet Letter in high school anymore?
posted by kindall at 4:47 PM on October 24, 2000

If drugs were really as utterly damaging as the pols say, wouldn't all the drug users not get into college anyway? Shouldn't they all be too busy rolling doobies down by the river to fill out applications?
This year, I'm going to give thanks for the long history of puritan poisoning of american culture...
posted by kidsplateusa at 5:16 PM on October 24, 2000

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