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Monday, February 26, 2024 | Back issues
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Parents Sue Virginia Tech After Son’s Suicide

FAIRFAX, Va. (CN) - The parents of a Virginia Tech student who committed suicide say the school failed to follow protocol to protect students after the April 2007 mass killing there. His parents say Daniel Kim, 21, told friends he was "ashamed of being Asian" and was afraid he resembled Seung-Hui Cho, who shot 27 students to death and then turned the gun on himself.

In the complaint in Fairfax County Court, Kim's parents say one of their son's friends sent an email to the Virginia Tech Student Health Center stating that Kim had bought a gun and had attempted suicide more than once.

The parents say the email bounced around between Dean of Students Tom Brown, Assistant Dean of Students Sharrika David, Phyllis Smith and Christopher Flynn of the Cook Counseling Center and the Virginia Tech Police Department.

Kim's parents say the school's protocol required it to have him speak directly with a school counselor or psychologist and consult with them on the matter, but school officials failed to do so.

The Virginia Tech police department, they say, had local police check on Kim, who denied knowing the person who sent the email and "gave no indications that he was going to harm himself and did not appear to be troubled or act in a suspicious manner."

Brown closed Kim's case on Nov. 5, 2007, after a meeting with the school's Threat Assessment Team, despite the fact that "no one from Virginia Tech had spoken with Daniel, his family, or roommates," according to the complaint.

Kim's body was found in a parking lot on Dec. 9, 2007, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

His parents seek punitive damages of $43 million for negligence. They are represented by Gary Mims with Hall Sickels.

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