Colleges and suicide threats: when to call home?


But Mark Mills, a Columbia University psychiatrist retained by Kim’s attorneys, found the eMail alone represented clear evidence of a “psychiatric emergency” and that it was “irresponsible and reckless” that Virginia Tech failed to take further action to see if Daniel needed help.

When William Kim asked university officials why they hadn’t told him about the email, he says they told him it was “unnecessary.”

Kim responded: “It was unnecessary? My son’s life was in danger, and you didn’t think it was necessary?”

“They didn’t call his teachers, other students, they didn’t call me,” said Kim, who emphasized he was not angry at Virginia Tech as a whole. “Nothing was done whatsoever to save him.”

Daniel Kim was a happy kid, said his father, who only later learned his son had agonized about his perceived resemblance to Cho and experienced anti-Korean slurs after the shootings on campus the April before he took his own life.

Only later did William Kim learn his son had secluded himself for two weeks in his dorm — the same building where Cho killed his first two victims.

“When somebody’s life is in danger, all the privacy, that should go out the window,” he said. “No matter how bad your relationship with your parents, when something like that happens you want to know.”

He added: “He was suffering at that school. We had no idea.””

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