Some mother's child

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My students are in the computer lab revising their essays for the portfolio, which are soon due.

One student just came up to ask a question. He has turned in only one essay the whole semester. I advised him to withdraw.

He is an active heroin addict. I asked him what happened to his hand--it's as big as a ham with scabby needle marks. At least, there are no abcesses. Anyway, he said, "I got in a fight." I said, "I don't believe that." I want to say, "Dude, knock it off. Get yourself into treatment," but of course, I can't do that.

It makes me sad. His mother's heart must be broken.

Is there anything I can do? I didn't think so.

I find myself wondering how our students get to such horrible places on a regular basis. And of course when the academic issues seem insurmountable, you really do want to help try to address the major ones that are locking them up.  No good suggestions here, but wishing for the best in any case.

On my campus, that kind of drug usage is something the Dean of Students' office would want to know about. Whether they'd act on it is another story (chances are, they'd verify the student isn't doing anything illegal in on-campus housing and then leave him alone). I realize this isn't possible at all campuses.

I've come to realize that many people have all sorts of addictions or other serious personal problems; some are more obvious than others. I think the best we can do is to be cognizant of that (while still holding up standards) and hope that troubled people will decide to get help eventually.

I know that sadness you're feeling, Pry, and I'm sorry for your student. I've posted over on the head-banging thread about my very unwell student whose husband is beating her up and who is now pregnant.

I would love it if my students had the luxury of being able to focus on being students, without having to deal with all these health, addiction, family, and other very real problems.

I had the alcoholic/pot abuser in class last semester. I knew it by September; in November I got an email from him (angry) telling me his parents were making him go to treatment 5 states away and he needed special consideration for the final exam (which I gave). He seemed alternately shocked, angry, and embarrassed. I think he thought he hid it so well. I could tell he was smart, but he was so drunk or high he had problems speaking coherently.

I hope he's OK now. I usually have 1-2 addicts per year, multiple cancer cases in young students, and an abusive relationship once a year. Last year I had a student in a manic state in my office, and there was nothing anyone I contacted could do. I just got evaluations back from that semester, and his mania was clear again.

Which is to say, I know what you are feeling.


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