Hindsight is 20-20, but the unheeded indications of Odighizuwa’s violence are mind-boggling. For example, the press carried an article by Chis Kahn quoting student Kenneth Brown as saying that Brown and his friends always joked that Odighizuwa was one of those guys who finally crack and bring a gun to school. “He was kind of off-balance,” Brown told the press. “When we met last year, he actually came up and shook my hand and asked my name. Then, like five minutes later he came back and said: ‘You know I’m not crazy, but people tick me off sometimes.’ Out of the blue.”
Shortly after the shooting, Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Virginia Governor Mark Warner, told the press that Odighizuwa had a history of mental instability and that school officials knew about! The governor is on the board of the Appalachian School of Law. If I understand Ms. Qualls’ correctly---even the governor of Virginia knew about Odighizuwa!
I would be hard pressed to find better evidence of the school’s prior knowledge of Odighizuwa’s violence on the campus, than the incidents just cited. This evidence clearly meets the threshold for justifying a jury trial.
Perhaps the most hurtful actions on the part of a school official came in a classroom setting shortly after the Dales and three student survivors filed their lawsuit. In the presence of one of the students who lived after being shot, the professor mocked the lawsuit saying something to the affect that the plaintiffs only want money.
Perhaps the professor has forgotten that one of those survivors is walking around with a bullet in her and does not know if she will ever be able to fully function as a lawyer because of the complications from that injury. Perhaps that professor has forgotten that a child was left without her mother. To my knowledge, that professor has never even offered his condolences to the Dales family. Perhaps that professor has forgotten the ethics of his profession, ethics that would argue against such an outburst in a classroom—an outburst that is unprofessional. (To be continues)