Settlement Requires Tech To Notify Parents Of Suicidal Students

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, December 19, 2011

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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