When we think about raising kids, college expenses seem to be “the end of the road,” one of the last hurdles to overcome in financially supporting the children. That is, of course, if you don’t plan to pay for a big wedding. Family Law plays a role here, as well.
Even though there is no legal obligation to pay for your children’s college education in Georgia, and such obligation can neither by ordered nor enforced unless the parties agreed voluntarily to pay, still parents often traditionally a play vital role in paying for the children’s college education- in the form of co-signing for student loans or starting 529 or other college savings plans for the children or in the Family Law questionable circumstance when the parties agree to be responsible for it in their Settlement Agreement.
However, the reality is more complicated than just finding a way to fund a college education. Many people are shocked and saddened by the recent tragic events that took place this past Sunday on the Georgia Tech campus and the subsequent riot on Monday night. Georgia Tech is close to my thoughts for many reasons, and one of them is because my nephew is graduating Georgia Tech this spring, majoring in Computer Engineering. As a parent, my heart goes out to Scott “Scout” Schultz’s family. We can agree or disagree on whether or not the police did the right thing, followed the protocol, and whether shooting Scout on the spot to death was the right decision.
I heard many opinions this week including opinions of Georgia Tech students and people in the law enforcement. We can agree or disagree on who initiated and instigated the riot on Monday on Georgia Tech campus and whether more people were involved in the peaceful vigil for Scout than the riot. The reality is that this tragedy, where a child lost their life, along with many other incidents, recurs when people with mental health issues cannot find help in time and end up either dead or in jail.
We fail people like Scout Schultz as a society. Our policies and traditions as a society are governed by the desire to save the majority. And the people who are on various ends of the curve representing “norm” in the society are often left helpless and sometimes dead.
When parents can, parents pay for college. They expect that sacrifice. When they bundle their child up and send them off for their education, they don’t expect, and shouldn’t have to worry about, the sacrifice being ultimate. They should expect and receive more.
Despite Georgia Tech having counseling resources, Scout did what they did. The only outlet for the people that have mental issues like depression, etc., aside from professional help (which you have to be ready to accept), is to rely on family, friends, fellow students, co-workers, etc. to recognize depression and suicidal inclinations. A compassionate, caring, loving community, could carry us a long way.
In the words of Isabel Allende, “we only have what we give.”