A nursing student is suing her college because she failed a critical class. Twice. It's not her fault, she says. Alas, she's just one of hundreds of thousands who blame everything and everyone but themselves.
by Walter Brasch
A student sued Misericordia College because she failed a nursing class. Twice.
She said she suffered psychological problems. Those problems included anxiety, depression, and poor concentration skills.
The college had agreed to allow her to retake the final examination last summer.
It set her up in a stress-free room, gave her extra time to complete the test, and did not provide a proctor. The professor said the student could call her by cell phone. That professor was in another building monitoring another test.
The student again failed the required course.
So now she's suing. She claims the professor didn't answer her numerous cell phone calls. She claims this made it more stressful. She claims it wasn't her fault she failed. It was the professor's fault. The college president's fault. And several others' fault.
So she sued, claiming the college violated her rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
That lawsuit acknowledges she had average to below average grades.
Let's pretend that a federal court agrees with her, and she gets so many accommodations that she now passes that course and somehow earns her nursing degree.
Let's also pretend that when she takes her nursing boards, the state gives her extra time, in a room by herself, without a proctor, makes one available by cell phone to answer questions--and, perhaps, allows her to have whatever notes and textbooks and learning aids she needs to pass that exam.
Assume all this. Now, here's the next question. Would you be comfortable having a nurse who can't handle stress? Who admits she can't concentrate? Who barely passed her college courses and requirements for a license?
Society should make accommodations for persons with disabilities--as long as those disabilities don't directly affect others and reduce the quality of care. Perhaps the student could be a nurse-educator, helping others better understand the need for vaccinations or how to care for young children. If that's the case, why even test for state boards and get the R.N. added to the B.S.N. degree? Perhaps, with psychological help, the student might be able one day to handle the stress of testing and clinical nursing.
Perhaps, the student could become an administrator. But, would nurses be willing to work for someone who suffers stress attacks and has never worked in patient care? Would teachers be willing to work for principals who never taught a class? Would firefighters be willing to take orders from a battalion chief who was never on a fire line or who rescued victims?
There are persons in the health care professions who are blind or deaf or who are paraplegics, and who perform their tasks as well as anyone else. But, almost all of those with physical disabilities probably studied hard, may have even exceeded the expectations and abilities of others who don't have physical disabilities, and are working in areas that don't impact patient care. A neurosurgeon with epilepsy, for example, would be rare, but a medical researcher, psychiatrist, or rheumatologist with epilepsy or mental or physical issues might be highly functional and, possibly, contribute far more than any neurosurgeon.
John Nash, who probably had far more psychological problems than the nursing student, still managed to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton, become a tenured professor at M.I.T., and earn the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on game theory. His story, told in A Beautiful Mind, has a subtle underlying theme--even with his mental issues, he didn't expect society to grant him extraordinary accommodations.
The sense of entitlement--and providing rewards for the smallest of achievements--goes back to almost a neonatal stage. We now have kindergarten graduations, complete with caps, gowns, and diplomas. For the next 12 years, our children will receive sparkling peel-off stars on their homework papers, medals and trophies for being one of the top 3 or 5 or 7 winners in athletic competitions. Even if they don't get the hardware, they get embossed ribbons just for participating.
In college, many students, forced to leave boxes of rewards at home, resort to excuses to demand special treatment and rewards for not achieving what they and their parents believe is their destiny. They complain about the amount of writing required. They complain the professor distracts them because she is too beautiful or too ugly or that she wears dated clothes. Black students complain that their White teachers are racist; White students complain that their Black teachers are racist. They claim to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and gobble adderall as if it were M&Ms, taking away time that teachers, counselors, and physicians can work with those who truly have ADHD and who, for the most part, don't use that diagnosis as an excuse.
In a grade-inflated environment, where a "B" is now the "new average," propped up by many professors not holding to rigorous academic standards and the college more interested in pleasing parents, who pay the tuition and fees than in enforcing rigorous academic standards, the student graduates. Perhaps we need to ask who might be more valuable to society--a plumber, an electrician, or a farmer, against an unemployed English major who can write compositions about ethereal subjects or a lawyer whose goal is to amass thousands of billable hours and a country club membership on the way to a partnership.
Our society is saturated with people with college degrees who complain they didn't get the "A" they wanted, and now whine it isn't their fault they have so much debt and no job.
Many of our millennial children believe they are entitled to have what they believe their needs are. After all, the media skewer them with ads, photos, and stories of people who "have it all." Isn't it just logical for teens and those in their 20s to hear the siren call from the media and want the bling that others have?
When all the ephemera are stripped away, we are left with a college generation that believes they are entitled to that high grade, that job, that upscale lifestyle. Somewhere, there might even be a clinical nurse whose own problems, or perceived problems, affect someone's health.
[Dr. Brasch was an advocate for the mentally and physically disabled, long before he had to use a handicapped parking placard. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania.]
Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights, and 'Unacceptable': The Federal response to Hurricane Katrina, available at amazon.com, borders.com and most major on-line bookstores. BEFORE THE FIRST SNOW is also available at www.greeleyandstone.com (20 discount)
Walter Brasch, a deeply valued Senior Editor at OpEdNews passed from this world on February 9, 2017, age 71, his obituary follows:
Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D., age 71, of 2460 Second Street, Bloomsburg (Espy), died Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville surrounded by his family.
He was an award-winning former newspaper reporter and editor in California, Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio; professor emeritus of mass communications and journalism at Bloomsburg University; and an award-winning social issues journalist and book author.
Walter was born March 2, 1945, in San Diego, the son of Milton Brasch and Helen (Haskin) Brasch and was a 34 year resident of Espy.
In his early years he was a writer-producer for multimedia and film companies in California, and a copywriter and political analyst for advertising and public relations companies. For five years during the late 1990s, he was the media and social issues commentator for United Broadcasting Network. He was also the author of a syndicated newspaper column since 1992 and the creative vice-president of Scripts Destitute of Phoenix.
Dr. Brasch was a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee and was active in the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency. He was vice-president of the Central Susquehanna chapter of the ACLU, vice-president and co-founder of the Northeast Pennsylvania Homeless Alliance, a member of the board of the Keystone Beacon Community for healthcare coordination, and was active in numerous social causes. He was co-founder with his wife Rosemary Brasch of The Oasis, a biweekly newsletter for families and friends of personnel stationed in the Persian Gulf. Later, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, they published The Oasis 2, for families of persons in combat zones. They were supported by the Bloomsburg Chapter, America Red Cross and Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.
He was the author of 20 books, most which fuse historical and contemporary social issues. Among his books are Black English and the Mass Media (1981); Forerunners of Revolution: Muckrakers and the American Social Conscience (1991); With Just Cause: The Unionization of the American Journalist (1991); Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture (1997); Brer Rabbit, Uncle Remus, and the 'Cornfield Journalist': The Tale of Joel Chandler Harris (2000); The Joy of Sax: America During the Bill Clinton Era (2001); Unacceptable: The federal Response to Hurricane Katrina (2005); America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights (2006); Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (2007); and Before the First Snow (2011). He was co-author of The Press and the State (1986), awarded Outstanding Academic Book distinction by Choice magazine, published by the American Library Association.
His last book is Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit (2015), a critically-acclaimed novel that looks at what happens when government and energy companies form a symbiotic relationship, using "cheaper, cleaner" fuel and the lure of jobs in a depressed economy but at the expense of significant health and environmental impact.
During the past two decades, he won more than 150 regional and national media awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Society of Professional Journalists, National Federation of Press Women, USA Book News, Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, Pennsylvania Press Club, Pennsylvania Women's Press Association, Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association, Penn-writers, International Association of Business Communicators, Pacific Coast Press Club, and Press Club of Southern California. He was recognized in 2012 by the Pennsylvania Press Club with the Communicator of Achievement award for lifetime achievement in journalism and public service.
He was an Eagle Scout; co-recipient of the Civil Liberties Award of the American Civil Liberties Union, 1996; and was honored by San Diego State University as a Points of Excellence winner in 1997. In 2000, he received the Herb Caen Memorial Award of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. For the Pennsylvania Humanities Council he was twice named a Commonwealth speaker. He also received the meritorious achievement medal of the U.S. Coast Guard.
At Bloomsburg University, he earned the Creative Arts Award, the Creative Teaching Award, and was named an Outstanding Student Advisor. He received the first annual Dean's Salute to Excellence in 2002, a second award in 2007, and the Maroon and Gold Quill Award for nonfiction. He was the 2004 recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Service Award. For 22 years, he was Editor-In-Chief of the awarding-winning Spectrum Magazine, part of the journalism program of the Department of Mass Communications, Bloomsburg University until his retirement in 2010. The community magazine was published twice a year by students for residents of Columbia and Montour counties in northeastern Pennsylvania and one of the few to be inducted into the national Associated Collegiate Press hall of fame. The magazine was also a consistent award winner in competition sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and the American Scholastic Press Association. He primarily taught magazine editing and production, public affairs reporting, feature writing, newspaper editing; every Fall, he taught a 250-student section on mass communications and the popular arts.
Dr. Brasch was co founder of the qualitative studies division of the Association for Education in Journalism, president of the Keystone State professional chapter and for three years deputy regional director of the Society of Professional Journalists, from which he received the Director's Award and the National Freedom of Information Award. He was president of the Pennsylvania Press Club, vice-president of the Pennsylvania Women's Press Association, and founding coordinator of Pennsylvania Journalism Educators. He was a featured columnist for Liberal Opinion Week, senior correspondent for the American Reporter, senior editor for OpEdNews, and an editorial board member of Journalism History and the Journal of Media Law and Ethics.
He was a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Author's Guild, National Writers Union (UAW/AFL-CIO), The Newspaper Guild (CWA/AFL-CIO), and the Society of Environmental Journalists. He was a life member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and was indicted into the national scholarship honor societies Phi Kappa Phi (general scholarship), Kappa Tau Alpha (journalism), Pi Gamma Mu (social sciences), and Kappa Tau Alpha (sociology.) He is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East, Contemporary Authors, Who's Who in the Media and Who's Who in Education. Dr. Brasch earned an A.B. in sociology from San Diego State College, an M.A. in journalism from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. in mass communication/journalism, with a cognate area in both American government/public policy and language and culture studies, from The Ohio State University.
He is survived by his wife of 34 years, the former Rosemary Renn the most wonderful thing that happened in his life and whom he loved very much; two sons, Jeffery Gerber, Phoenix AZ and Matthew Gerber and his wife, Laurel (Neyhard) of Bloomsburg, a sister, Corey Brasch of Sacramento, Calif; a niece, Terri Pearson-Fuchs, Calif, numerous cousins; and his beloved dogs Cabot and Remy.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m. at the Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 325 Market St., Bloomsburg with family friend, Nathaniel Mitchell officiating. Interment in Elan Memorial Park, Lime Ridge.
Friends may call at the funeral home on Tuesday from 6 - 8 p.m. or Wednesday from 1-2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Walter M. Brasch Scholarship Fund,
c/o First Keystone Community Bank, 2301 Columbia Blvd, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 or to
Mostly Mutts, 284 Little Mountain Rd., Sunbury, PA 17801