Fairfax County school officials knew that the outcast student who shot dead 32 people at Virginia Tech had selective mutism, a serious social anxiety disorder that prevented him from speaking in many situations. But federal privacy laws blocked disclosure of that information to Virginia Tech, reports the Washington Post.
Only shooter Seung Hui Cho or his parents could have told the college, and both were afraid to do so. Selective mutism makes speaking in class almost impossible, so Farifax High excused Cho from doing so. Virginia Tech, unaware of the disorder, made no such concessions, so Cho faced ridicule as he sat silent when called upon.