Friday, October 05, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting: Final Report

The final report on the investigation of the Virginia Tech tragedy was released in September (see also Washington Post story).

Some of the Recommendations:

11 recommendations by the panel (go to past 2 pages of the pdf), including:

  • short- and long-term counseling to affected individuals
  • crisis-management training for colleges
7 recommendations about changing privacy laws (last 3 pages), including:
  • exempting university clinics from FERPA, so medical treatment info can be released without student's consent;
  • adding good faith, safe harbor provisions for certain disclosures;
  • reducing privacy rights for "troubled students";
  • deeming law enforcement and medical personnel to be "school officials", which permits greater access to students' records;
  • consider making all commitment hearing results public information
12 recommendations [.pdf] about changes in college mental health services (beg on pg 53), including:
  • system of linking "troubled students" to counseling services on and off campus;
  • adequate, culturally-competent community MH services for children and adolescents;
  • requirements that professors and resident hall staff report all "aberrant" behaviors to the dean;
  • repeated incidents of aberrant behavior be reported to the counseling center and to parents;
  • counseling center report all students in court-ordered treatment to the threat assessment team;
  • expansion of outpatient MH services statewide to meet community needs
14 recommendations [.pdf, same as above link] for changes (pg 60) in Virginia laws, including:
  • extension of time period for temporary detention on an Emergency Petition (EP); allowing ER docs to do EPs (weird, they can do them in Maryland);
  • lowering the "imminent danger" standard;
  • increase the # of crisis stabilization beds to reduce waiting in ERs;
  • assuring the "independent evaluator" has access to "necessary reports and collateral info" prior to the independent commitment eval;
  • setting certain standards for the commitment hearings (ones I think Maryland already meets);
  • reducing privacy rights for anyone going thru commitment proceedings;
  • tightening up involuntary outpatient commitment procedures;
  • "the sanction(s) to be imposed on the no-compliant [sic] person who does not pose an imminent danger to himself or others";
  • requiring providers to report noncompliance with involuntary outpatient orders