Pubdate: Tue, 02 May 2006
Source: Des Moines Register (IA)

Copyright: 2006 The Des Moines Register.
Author: John R. Hearn
Bookmark: (Students for Sensible Drug Policy)
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)
Bookmark: (Youth)


I read "Drug Convictions Cost Students" (April 17). It related that a 
federal law disqualifies students from federal financial aid for 
college for a drug conviction, although there is some reprieve if the 
student completes drug rehabilitation, which includes random drug 
testing. Wow. This is epic small-mindedness.

First, it is classed-based. It does not affect the well-to-do. They 
do not need student aid, while it throws one more hurdle in front of 
the economically underprivileged attempting to upgrade their lives 
through education.

Second, it apparently treats a simple marijuana conviction as a drug 

Unlike drug possession, there are a variety of other crimes for which 
there is a victim other than the perpetrator. Most would consider 
these more odious than use or possession of marijuana: larceny, 
burglary, assault, reckless driving, vandalism and drunken driving, 
to name a few.

Third, it illustrates drug-use phobia. Illegal possession and use of 
alcohol is equivalent, yet apparently students with alcohol-related 
convictions are not sanctioned.

The law's author, Indiana Rep. Mark Souder, states the purpose of the 
law: "Taxpayer[s] should not be subsidizing the education of students 
who are convicted of...using illegal drugs."

If the government were serious about student drug use, it would 
require colleges and universities that receive federal funding 
(probably every one in America) to impose such a requirement on the 
admission of all students.

The law piles on more retribution on top of what the legal system has 
already imposed after the conviction.

The legal system is designed to address these issues; college 
admissions offices are not. In the end, more education, not less, 
will better serve those with addictions.

- -- John R. Hearn

Des Moines.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman