Fairfax County school officials determined that Seung Hui Cho suffered from an anxiety disorder so severe that they put him in special education and devised a plan to help, according to sources familiar with his history, but Virginia Tech was never told of the problem.
The disorder made Cho unable to speak in social settings and was deemed an emotional disability, the sources said. When he stopped getting the help that Fairfax was providing, Cho became even more isolated and suffered severe ridicule during his four years at Virginia Tech, experts suggested. In his senior year, Cho killed 32 students and faculty members and himself in the deadliest shooting by an individual in U.S. history….
Professors and school administrators at Virginia Tech could not have known of Cho’s emotional disability — Fairfax officials were forbidden from telling them. Federal privacy and disability laws prohibit high schools from sharing with colleges private information such as a student’s special education coding or disability, according to high school and college guidance and admissions officials. Those laws also prohibit colleges from asking for such information.
The only way Virginia Tech officials would have known about Cho’s anxiety and selective mutism would have been if Cho or his parents told them about it and asked for accommodations to help him, as he had received in Fairfax….
Although the only way college officials could have known about Cho’s problem would have been from Cho, experts said that asking for help is an almost impossible task for someone with selective mutism.