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Jeffrey McMurray’s “Colleges Are Watching Troubled Students”


Following the Virginia Tech mass execution conducted by Seung-Hoi Cho in the period 2007 leading to the demise of thirty-two students and tutors within the educational setting, a risk review faction was implemented to monitor psychologically challenged learners within the institution (McMurray, 2008). This is in a bid to reduce and inhibit further demises attributable troubled learners as noted on various learning facilities over the past periods. The present monitoring approach had been employed in high school settings yet universities and colleges although bearing the same challenge disallowed the same with the rationale that it leads to a contravention of one’s privacy edicts.

The monitoring team is employing various approaches like confining the number and identity of individuals that mental students can associate with, offering counseling sessions, according spatial restrictions to the affected learners, temporary and permanent discontinuation of the students within the educational facilities (McMurray, 2008). Amongst the aforementioned approaches, permanent discontinuation from normal facilities to constrained ones holds the most efficient strategy within the given situation.


At least twenty percent of higher learning institutes had already employed the monitoring and counseling approaches and following the occurrence all educational institutions have the employed the same tools (Elias, 2008). Assaults as that committed by Seung-Hoi Cho are infrequent as investigators have reported and are rarely directed to fellow course mates. The most prevalent actions concern suicide cases that also bear a level of impact on other learners. Suicide cases are vastly notable in learners with the age range of between eighteen and twenty-four years as noted in the period 2001. The frequent mental conditions noted within the group are depression, bipolar ailments and schizophrenia (Kelly, 2001). Present antidepressants for the identified conditions have been employed to lessen the ailments magnitude and thus enabling the learners’ presence in normal schools. However, this approach has proven to be inadequate as noted by investigations that have noted an enhancement of mental illnesses in learners from ten to fifteen percent in 2000 and 2007 respectively (Elias, 2008).

The influx reflects a level of inefficacy in the treatment and handling approaches. Counseling techniques have also revealed the same tendency with the increment being from nine to twenty-three percent within the same durations. Counselors have expressed a notable concern with regard to the given situation and inferences thereby noted. In fact, Elias (2008) notes that specialists regarding the various handling techniques have offered the assertion that presently there lacks a distinct and highly effectual technique in the deterrence of further killings. Permanent discontinuation therefore remains as the other option but this may result in instantaneous retaliation from such learners. Therefore, having special educational institutes for mental learners offers the paramount but not perfect approach presently.

Resistance towards the given idea is based on the notion that it accords a contravention of programs like Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the inclusion projects that have employed an equitable system that allows the disabled and mental learners within normal educations settings. The rationale given towards the program is that the associations between both groups aids the disabled learners in the creation of a superior emotional and physical setting and subsequently enhanced performances in learning and associations. However, endangering other students as in Seung-Hoi Cho’s instance is quite unreasonable and superior monitoring is always present in confined settings as opposed to normal ones and therefore enhancing the achievement likelihood with the latter alternative.


In conclusion, private learning settings for troubled individuals offer the most effective resolution at the moment as noted by numerical evidences of the inefficacy noted in counseling arrangements and the level of mental cases augmentation. Again, monitoring approaches in normal structures lack the severity required in a bid to ensure that the setting does not upset the untroubled learners and thereby affecting the optimality level.

Works Cited

Elias, Marilyn. “A Year After Va. Tech, Campuses More Wary.” USA Today, 16 April 2008. Web. 27 July 2011. .

Kelly, Kate. “Lost on the Campus: More Mentally Ill Students Can Cope With College. But What Happens to the One Who Can’t”. Time Reports, 15 Jan 2001. Web. 27 July 2011. .

McMurray, Jeffrey. “Colleges Are Watching Troubled Students.” The Seattle Times, 3 April 2008. Web. 27 July 2011. .


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