Settlement Requires Tech To Notify Parents Of Suicidal Students

Ann McClure's picture

One November day in 2007, an email arrived at the Virginia Tech health center warning that a 21-year-old senior named Daniel Kim might be suicidal.

Within weeks, Kim was dead. Only then did his parents learn of the email.

Four years later, the university has reached a legal settlement with the Kim family that requires school officials to notify parents or guardians when a student is suicidal. The agreement, signed by a Fairfax County judge last month, was disseminated by the Kim family last week.

Colleges don't routinely call home at the first sign a student is in trouble. It's one of the ways college differs from high school: College officials view students as adults, capable of self-governance and entitled to a measure of privacy.

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