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Education Secretary Wants Morals Taught In College

March 18, 1986

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett says the nation’s universities should take a more active role in teaching students moral values, incuding the difference between right and wrong.

″Parents don’t expect their children to come out worse off than when they went in,″ Bennett said Monday to more than 1,300 members of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

″I think that parents have a reasonable right to expect from a college that it will establish a certain environment ... that it will point the young men and women to the good things, the noble things, the exemplary things,″ Bennett said.

He also said colleges and universities must protect students from drugs.

Later, at a news conference, Bennett said he supports placing undercover police officers on campuses to catch drug users and described drug abuse as the biggest problem facing the nation’s schools.

″I don’t care who’s pushing, whether it’s parents or whether it’s kids ... this really is approaching a proportion of a plague,″ he said.

″Drug education programs, yes, but law enforcement first and foremost. We’re going to focus on getting drugs out of school, getting the pushers out of school.″

California State University trustee Celia Ballesteros said, ″I was embarrassed by the lack of depth to the secretary’s understanding of what higher education is all about. If I can say this without offending PTA members, I had hoped that the nation’s secretary of education would come across sounding better than a small-town PTA president, but that’s how he sounded.″

Trustee Robert Kully said he was surprised as Bennett’s ″simplistic″ way of looking at morals.

″We can all agree to support the sanctity of life, but what does the secretary want us to teach about abortion, the death penalty and birth control? These are the real sanctity of life and moral issues that we face, not the simplistic notion of right and wrong,″ Kully said.

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