When a student is mentally ill

Jared Lee Loughner, 22, arrested for killing six people and wounding an Arizona congresswoman, was kicked out of Pima Community College in the fall for disrupting classes, reports the Arizona Republic.

Loughner reportedly left high school for a middle college program that let him take community college classes but didn’t earn a diploma. He took classes at Pima for five years before multiple run-ins with campus police in 2010  led to his suspension. He agreed to leave campus until he could supply a mental-health professional’s note saying he did not pose a danger to himself or others.

 Afterward, Loughner continued posting angry rants about the college on YouTube and expanded his wrath to focus on the government. Loughner posted angry messages about government mind control, a new currency and his concern over what he described as illiteracy.

. . . “I can’t trust the current government because of fabrications,” Loughner wrote in a YouTube slide show. “The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.”

Loughner’s algebra instructor at Pima feared he’d pull a gun, reports the Washington Post.  Ben McGahee reported his student’s bizarre behavior to the dean, who removed him from class.

Lynda Sorenson, 52, another student in the class, said that Loughner was disruptive and unruly from the first day.

“There was never a time when he was in class that he was not disruptive, and he scared me. He frightened the daylights out of me,” Sorenson said in a telephone interview. “I kept saying to people, ‘I’m afraid he’s going to come into the class with a gun.’”

It’s hard to see what else community college officials could have done.  Loughner’s parents were at the October meeting that led to his withdrawal.  They must have known he was showing symptoms of mental illness — schizophrenia often hits in the teens and early 20′s — but perhaps weren’t able to get him to seek treatment.

It’s not clear why Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a conservative Democrat.  A self-declared fan of the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, as well as The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, Loughner had no coherent politics.  He worried about government control of grammar.

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs
ON January 9, 2011

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[…] dilemma faced by officials at Pima Community College in Arizona.  Student Jared Lee Loughner was disrupting classes and showing signs of mental illness. Instructors and students feared what he’d do, but he hadn’t attacked anyone. […]

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by neksspedteacher, Joanne Jacobs. Joanne Jacobs said: Blog: When a student is mentally ill /content/when-a-student-is-mentally-ill_3246/ […]

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