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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

College Can Kill You

It’s that time of year again, commencement, with starry-eyed students and sensational speakers crossing paths on the dais. But the fact is, obtaining a higher education may be injurious to one’s health. Whether suicide, mass murders, or individualized stalking-stranglings and decapitations, the sad statistics emanting from college campuses have skyrocketed. (And public high schools are running a close second….)

Many parents pay through the nose to send off our best and brightest for four years. I’m not sure that’s the smartest thing to do, anymore. It’s definitely dangerous to be a university student these days. No matter how high the SATs or GPAs, they matter little if the student ends up dead.

Korean killer Seung-Hui Cho wreaking havoc at Virginia Tech, a melee massacre that stunned the nation, followed by a Chinese male student decapitating a female Chinese student on the same campus a couple of years later, just the thing you want to see at your local Au Bon Pain. Gives new meaning to The Old Dominion State. Yale grad student Annie Le, murdered in the key-controlled campus lab just five days before her wedding, her body stuffed into a wall. Elite Cornell University, where six different students have committed suicide in the 2009-2010 school year. UVA senior and star lacrosse player, Yeardley Love, brutally murdered by an on-again, off-again boyfriend, another senior lacrosse player, only days before graduation.

These serious stats don’t include on-campus rapes, robberies, and violent attacks. And let’s not forget death-by-alcohol at those fun frat parties. Plus, Amanda Knox and her hard knocks changed forever how mothers and fathers would view a semester abroad in a peaceful place like chocolate-lovers’ Perugia.

I can only imagine those of us with adopted kids from Russia, should they want to study there for a year abroad. With dual passports, we were warned by Moscow Embassy workers not to bring any sons back to Russia from the ages of 18 to 28, make that 17 to 29 just to be safe, even though they would not technically be eligible for conscription since they did not live there permanently. Who wants their son to be the first test case?

The dangers on college and even high school campuses are on the rise. While random violence will always be with us, there are ways to prepare for the unthinkable. Ask your child’s intended school what is their emergency plan:  do they have one and how does it work? How are other students contacted in the event that an incident is happening on another part of the campus?

Also, evaluate other aspects of campus security:  do those with key-cards to dorms regularly hold the front door open for visitors behind them, in effect giving anyone access? Are there security cameras in parking lots with video kept on file for at least a week, and good lighting on walking paths at night? In case of an emergency, is there more than one exit door that may be easily unlocked with a push-bar?

Remember, there are top schools that engage in elaborate cover-ups. Crazy little quid-pro-quo: murders go up, enrollment goes down. Talk with other students from your area, or read the local police crime reports online.

I’m not so sure anymore about sending the kids away to university. Online classes are looking much safer these days.

Except for those pesky online predators….



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