600 students were absent at Hoover High School last week, despite police assurance no threats were made to students in suicide letters found in restrooms earlier this week, according to New York Times.
About 600 of the 2,950 students in grades 9 through 12 were marked absent today, said school spokesman Jason Gaston. Some of those students initially absent have since checked in, so the absenteeism continues to drop, Gaston said.
The notes were discovered Monday in boys’ restrooms on all three levels of the school. The letters found in each restroom were identical, and indicated the writer was depressed and threatening to kill himself at the school on Friday October 9th, said Capt. Gregg Rector.
There was no mention of weapons of any kind, nor were there any threats made to anyone other than himself.
Police on Thursday announced they had identified the student who wrote the letters. Authorities interviewed the student, who confessed to writing and posting the letters. “We believe this student likely acted alone and it’s not appropriate at this time to judge his actions or behavior,” Rector said. “Our primary focus at this point, along with school officials, is to guide this young man and his family towards appropriate resources.”
Gaston said today’s absenteeism is unusually high. “Certainly many parents chose to keep students home because of the note found earlier this week - and we respect those decisions made by parents,” he said. “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.”
“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 said today. “We certainly understand, though, that this has been a stressful week for students, parents and school employees.”
“The sad reality is that we live in uncertain times and occasionally we’re faced with events beyond our control,” he 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.”
Hoover High School principal Don Hulin kept parents informed of the investigation with an email each evening. Once the person responsible was identified, a letter was sent to inform parents.
“A student has admitted to placing the notes found in the bathrooms this week,” Hulin’s email read. “The apparent motive in this situation was to bring awareness and assistance to students who may be going through tough times - and possibly contemplating suicide. Obviously, this was the wrong way to go about bringing awareness to these issues.”