Health Law

Va. Tech Gets Gunman's Mental File


Frustrated by federal privacy law that protects student mental health records from disclosure even after the subject’s death, a Virginia Tech advisory panel reviewing the on-campus massacre of more than 30 people won permission from the family of the student gunman to get his records.

Seung-Hui Cho, who shot himself after killing 32 and injuring dozens more, reportedly had a history of apparent mental disturbance. W. Gerald Massengill, a retired state police superintendent who chairs the panel, tells AP that Cho’s mental health records are some, but not all, of what is needed to allow the panel to reach conclusions about what happened and what can be done to prevent such tragedies in the future. The records are not to be made available to the general public, according to AP.

“I think it’s important that we learn as much about Cho as we can from his childhood on up,” says Massengill. “Any record or any interview or any process that will allow us to do that, we’re certainly interested in.”

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