Wednesday, April 05, 2006

GWU to student: get well and get out

Jordan Knott found himself facing a common dilemma his Sophomore year at George Washington University: depression. Understandable considering that his closest friend, who was originally supposed to be Knott's room-mate that year, killed himself by jumping from the fifth floor of a dorm near the end of the previous school year.

When Knott noticed his depression left him considering suicide, he took action and sought the help he knew he needed before he became a danger to himself or others. Unfortunately for Knott, he made the mistake of voluntarily checking himself in to the nearest hospital in order to receive care from GWU's very on pyshciatrists - the move got him suspended and barred from campus
Within a day and a half of arriving there, he got a letter from a GWU administrator saying his "endangering behavior" violated the code of student conduct. He faced possible suspension and expulsion from school, the letter said, unless he withdrew and deferred the charges while he got treatment. [WaPo]
Apparently, according to GWU's policy, a student doesn't have to actually do something (or even threaten to do something) that could endanger another or themselves, merely admitting experiencing feelings consistent with suicidal ideation and taking appropriate action to ensure you get treatment to prevent you from acting on those feelings automatically makes you an imminent threat. I wonder what the Psych department thinks of the school's actions.

Knott has, understandably, sued the school. On behalf of those students who will now avoid seeking help and, possibly, decompensate to the point of attempting suicide, I hope he wins.

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