600 kids skipped school after suicide notes were found in bathrooms. The mass absence occurred on Friday, which accounts for about 20 percent of Hoover High School’s 2,950 students. The incident is being linked to students at other schools and colleges who killed themselves after opening fire on school campuses.
As the Associated Press reported, the suicide notes were found earlier last week and turned into police. It took authorities some time before finally locating the troubled student, but that did not prevent 600 kids from not showing up for class. The notes were left in bathrooms on all three floors of the school building. The notes indicated a student would kill himself on October 9, the same day 600 kids decided to skip school.
Some students started to turn up later in the day, perhaps sensing no incident was actually going to occur. The notes also didn’t mention the student would commit violence to anyone other than himself. But recent events of massive school shootings by students who didn’t value their lives or the lives of others have students and school staff members across the country on guard.
Police and school officials pored over video footage to pinpoint the writer of the notes since they were discovered. The process was indeed time-consuming, as they had to view many hours of surveillance footage multiple times. They were finally able to identify the student, who confessed upon being approached by police. Police were unsure if this was designed as a prank to cause panic in the school or if the student really was intent on doing something to himself. Despite being identified by Thursday, 600 students still skipped school on Friday with the support of their parents, who feared the worst.
But after no incident occurred, Hoover Police Department spokesman, Captain Gregg Rector, tried to calm the school community, as reported by AL.com.
“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. We certainly understand, though, that this has been a stressful week for students, parents and school employees.”
— Hoover High School (@HooverHighBucs) February 9, 2015
School officials and students worked together with police to identify the student. Captain Rector commended and praised the excellent coordination between his department and the school community, AL.com reported.
“Solving this case was no ordinary effort. There were times it seemed almost impossible but hard work pays dividends. That was certainly true in this case. Hoover High School teachers, counselors, principals and others also put much time and effort into helping resolve this situation. We have truly outstanding school system employees teaching and guiding our students.”
AL.com also reported Rector’s statement of understanding towards the 600 kids who skipped school and the entire school community.
“The sad reality is that we live in uncertain times and occasionally we’re faced with events beyond our control. 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.”
Fears are high in the country only two weeks after the mass shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Oregon. A 26-year-old student shot students and staff of the college before turning the gun on himself after police arrived. Survivors of that incident are still coming forward with their stories. The gunman, Chris Harper Mercer, was said to have been inspired by earlier school shootings in evidence he left behind.
Neither school officials nor police blamed the 600 kids for skipping school. Whether 600 kids or the entire student body, nobody wants another incident of mass school violence. If an incident was to occur, 600 or more kids skipping school would have made the situation easier to control for law enforcement officials.
[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]