A high school student who left a noose in the boys’ locker room was suspended, and the principal called his action “a cry for help,” not an act of racism.
According to Detroit news station WXYZ, Lara Dixon, the principal of Athens High School in Troy, Mich., emailed parents to say that students in a physical education class had discovered the noose in the back of the boys’ locker room on Thursday.
“Obviously, we are aware of the hostile racial symbolism of a noose display and want you to know that we take this very seriously and will continue to investigate throughout the day tomorrow and beyond,” Dixon wrote on Friday, according to WXYZ. “If this was a racially motivated incident, I can assure you that it does not represent the values of Athens High School and the Troy School District. Any students involved will be disciplined to the fullest extent of the student code of conduct. There is no room at Athens for any conduct like this and it goes against the culture of diversity and inclusion that our students and staff work so hard to continually build. If it was a cry for help by a student intending self-harm, then we also need to know about it immediately so that we can assist and support that student in every way possible.”
Noose found in boys' locker room at Athens High School in Troy https://t.co/FU2r1q3VRF
— Lee Jackson (@LeeJack71584402) December 24, 2018
After an investigation that included help from parents and students, Dixon sent an update, according to a follow-up story on WXYZ. “Our initial investigation reveals that this appears to be more of a cry for help surrounding some ongoing mental health issues, rather than a racially motivated incident,” she wrote. “That said, we are mindful of the abhorrent symbolism of a noose to our community and understand the valid feelings of those who had seen or heard about it. We are sharing this information — with parent permission— not to minimize the emotions of those hurt by this incident, but to help with [an] understanding of the full context of what occurred.”
Dixon also asked parents “to connect with your children about any struggles they might be having with depression or mental health issues. The holidays are a very difficult time for many people, and we want our students to know that we care about each and every one of them. If you need resources to help, we stand ready to provide them.”
According to the Troy Times, the police were contacted at the beginning; however, the school identified the student quickly.
Dixon and a representative of the Troy School District did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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