Communication Breakdown?

Administrators at Virginia Tech are facing difficult questions about why they did not do more to help a student clearly in trouble.

The exact sequence of events remains somewhat unclear, but it was revealed Thursday that university administrators knew about the December 2005 detention order issued by a Virginia court that allowed police to take Seung-hui Cho to a state mental facility, but never notified school counselors.

"To my knowledge, we were not individually notified, but I'm not sure I can say much more about that," said Dr. Chris Flynn, director of the Cook Counseling Center on the Virginia Tech campus.

Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum refuted the comment moments later.

"We notified the university administrator on call of our actions with Mr. Cho regarding the temporary detention order," Flimchum said. "We had taken it as far as the police department could take it. We notified the university administrator on call and after that, I don't know what happened to the case."

What the university administrators did with the information from the police remains unknown.

As a result of the detention order, Virginia Special Justice Paul Barnett, who ruled Cho was a danger to himself, ordered him to seek outpatient care.

That court-ordered treatment may have happened locally in Blacksburg, but that information has not yet been released.

Flynn was very careful to point out that the temporary detention order obtained by police moved any care for Cho outside of the school's jurisdiction.

"The university is not part of the mental health system and we would not be the providers of mandatory counseling in this instance," Flynn said.

ABC News has obtained a search warrant return indicating that Cho had medical records on file at a Blacksburg mental health facility that Virginia State Police seized Tuesday evening.

The school had other information in the fall of 2005 that indicated Cho may be a threat. One of his English professors successfully had him removed from her course after some students began to boycott the class because of his menacing behavior.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...