Nearly 600 Hoover High School students were absent from school after it was made public knowledge that officials had discovered disturbing suicide notes that were left in the boys’ restrooms on each floor of the school, Al.com reports. According to the official report regarding the incident, Hoover High School spokesman Jason Gaston stated that approximately 600 of the 2,950 students in grades 9 through 12 were marked absent on Friday and did not dare go on campus after a depressed student expressed his intentions to commit suicide on school grounds.
In a statement, Gaston shared details of the incident and said the school respects the parents’ decision to keep their kids at home.
“Certainly many parents chose to keep students home because of the note found earlier this week — and we respect those decisions made by parents. We are so fortunate that a resolution was reached yesterday as a direct result of excellent investigative work on the part of the Hoover Police Department and Hoover H.S. Principal Don Hulin and his administrative team.”
— AL.com (@aldotcom) October 10, 2015
The Associated Press reports that the suicide notes were spotted on Monday in the boys’ restrooms throughout all the floors of the school. Speaking to reporters, Police Capt. Gregg Rector explained that all the suicide notes were the same, and the content indicated that the author was severely depressed and planned to commit suicide at the school on Friday. Although Rector made it clear that the teen didn’t threaten to harm anyone else and there was no mention of weapons of any kind, the incident still triggered an enormous response from law enforcement officials.
“The sad reality is that we live in uncertain times and occasionally we’re faced with events beyond our control,” Rector said. “We prevent what we can, and when situations occur we confront those issues and deal with them as best we know how. It’s time to put this one behind us and move on.”
Authorities revealed that the identity of the teen who wrote the letters was discovered on Thursday, however, they did not release his name because of his age. The teen reportedly admitted to writing and distributing the suicide letters throughout the school when he was interviewed by authorities.
“We believe this student likely acted alone and it’s not appropriate at this time to judge his actions or behavior,” Rector said during a press conference. “Our primary focus at this point, along with school officials, is to guide this young man and his family towards appropriate resources.”
“This situation has been resolved and everyone’s routine should be back to normal today. We’ve identified the person responsible and he’s being dealt with appropriately,” Rector explained. “We certainly understand, though, that this has been a stressful week for students, parents and school employees.”
Police and school officials were especially concerned because Hoover High School is the largest high school in the state of Alabama and a suicide on campus would have been devastating to students and teachers alike. Hoover High School is located in the suburb of Hoover in Birmingham, and, according to their site, it offers personalized, differentiated learning, numerous academy programs and a low student-teacher ratio.
The suicide scare at Hoover High School follows a string of shootings that have occurred at college campuses across the nation recently. On Friday, two students were killed in separate shootings on college campuses in Texas and Arizona. And on October 1, students at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Oregon, were left traumatized after a gunman walked into at classroom at began shooting, leaving 10 people dead.
[Image via David Calvert/Getty Images News]