Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 10:27:07 -0500 (EST)
Someone asked me if I thought about the legal liability of my interaction with students such as John. Liability is a matter that is on most people's mind. But, I think too many people use it as an excuse or rationalization to remain disengaged. They also rely upon the confines of a narrow job description to remain distant: "That's not my job" or "let them leave their emotions and problems at the door."
And so, these people put a condum over their teaching. They practice self-serving, protective, safe teaching that is limited to the subject. They let the possibility of legal liability and the confines of a job description limit their options and impose restrictions on their actions that their conscience tells them should be otherwise.
At these moments, as a colleague said, however, like the one created by John, whether I like it or not, there never is a "safe" way to escape responsibility, no safe way to escape liability, whether by action or inaction. At such times I must stand before my own conscience. So, in addition to thinking of the possibility of legal liability and the confines of a job description, I also must give deep thought to the possibility of moral liability for how I respond to people like John.
The truth is that whether I chose to ignore him, send him away, patronize him, or embrace him, I would be taking a very real risk.
I prefer, out of inner strength and conviction, taking the risk of coming to the aid of a sacred, valuable fellow human being reaching out for help to fearfully casting him aside as something worthless.
Make it a good day. --Louis-- Louis Schmier (912-333-5947) firstname.lastname@example.org Department of History /~\ /\ /\ Valdosta State University /^\ / \ / /~ \ /~\__/\ Valdosta, Georgia 31698 / \__/ \/ / /\ /~ \ /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\ -_~ / "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\ _ _ / don't practice on mole hills" -\____