By “Freedom Watcher” || Obviously last month’s shooting in Tucson, Arizona involving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was a tragic event. Violence should never be used to convey any type of political message, and this was no exception. However this shooting wasn’t political – it was the direct result of a madman with a gun. That means there is virtually nothing that could have been done to prevent it because the actions of madmen are unforeseeable.
Good luck telling that to State Representative Chip Limehouse though.
Last month, the Charleston “Republican” proposed legislation that would force campus police departments in South Carolina to report all students who have been expelled, suspended or who dropped out due to “disruptive or anti-social behavior.”
Sadly, this isn’t a joke, Limehouse is actually proposing that we do this. In fact his legislation already has six cosponsors – even though his bill is clearly nothing more than a reactionary attempt to take advantage of a tragic situation.
There are several obvious problems with Limehouse’s proposal.
First, it assumes that only college students can carry out mass shootings like the one in Arizona. If Limehouse wants to ensure that everyone is protected from the actions of a madman, why isn’t he also requiring that high schools turn in watch lists of “disruptive or anti-social” students?
Limehouse seems to forget that many adults perpetrate despicable acts that claim many innocent lives – such as flying a plane into an IRS building.
Second, the term “disruptive or anti-social” seems a too broad. What college student isn’t disruptive at some point? Also, how does Limehouse define what “disruptive or anti-social” entails? If a student chooses to study instead of going to a frat party, technically they’re being anti-social.
Also, if a student is copying another student’s paper during a test and the professor removes them, doesn’t that cause a disruption?
Another issue with the bill is that it violates privacy rights. When a student enters a college campus, they are guaranteed certain privacy rights, such as behavioral and academic records. Even if a parent pays every cent of their child’s education, they are prohibited by the university from seeing their child’s records. In order for parents to view academic and behavioral records, their children have to give them permission. With Limehouse’s new bill, students would not have a say in the matter – their records would automatically be turned over to the local police department.
Such unwarranted intrusion would also appear to violate “FERPA,” the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act – which says that a school cannot turnover any records to the police without permission from the student, a judicial order or a subpoena.
Finally, Limehouse fails to recognize the added burden he is placing on local police officers. While everyone in South Carolina is scrambling to make ends meet and live within their budget, Limehouse is seeking to saddle local cops with additional responsibilities.
Hopefully this bill will never make it to a vote, but since South Carolina legislators always seem to think they have an answer to things they can’t control, it will probably be coming to an university near you sometime soon.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: “Freedom Watcher” is an anonymous contributor to our website.