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Principal: Student responsible for noose found in boys' locker room at Troy school suspended

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Posted at 4:36 PM, Dec 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-21 16:46:38-05

TROY, Mich. (WXYZ) — The student responsible for the noose found in the boys' locker room at Athens High School in Troy has been suspended, according to the principal.

School officials say they received leads from students and parents about their concern for a student who may have been involved. An investigation connected the student with the act, said Principal Lara Dixon.

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. 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 understanding of the full context of what occurred.

The student -- who has not been identified -- is suspended pending a hearing, according to the school's student Code of Conduct.

Students coming from a physical education class Thursday discovered a rope fashioned into a noose in the rear shower area. Dixon said school officials immediately began an investigation and spoke to the students who found the rope as well as staff who work in the immediate area.

We are grateful to our parents and students for coming forward and allowing us to get to the bottom of this situation very quickly. We also would like to take a moment to ask 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. Please remember in the event of a mental health emergency when school is not in session, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Read the Principal Dixon's full letter to parents below:

Dear Athens Parents, I want to give you an update to the incident that occurred in the boys’ locker room. After we shared some preliminary information with you last night, we immediately began to receive leads from both students and parents about their concern for a particular student who may have been involved. This morning, we identified and connected with the student and have determined that the student was responsible for the noose left in the locker room. The student is suspended pending the outcome of a hearing, per our student Code of Conduct. 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. 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 understanding of the full context of what occurred. We are grateful to our parents and students for coming forward and allowing us to get to the bottom of this situation very quickly. We also would like to take a moment to ask 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. Please remember in the event of a mental health emergency when school is not in session, call 9-1-1 immediately. Just as importantly, we would like you to remind your children that the wonderful racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity at Athens — as well as the entire school district — is something we place a high value on. We take great pride in the fact that Troy was recently named the most diverse city in Michigan, and we celebrate that diversity on an ongoing basis. Our culture of inclusion of all is paramount in what we do in our classrooms and our hallways and our locker rooms every single day. There is, however, always room for improvement, and we will use what families have shared with us through this experience to strengthen Athens’ cultural competency and positive culture. The same can be said for the entirety of the Troy School District. In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your cooperation and support during this serious situation. We would not have been able to get to this point without your help. Our parents are critical partners, and we sincerely appreciate your dedication to your children and our school. I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy time with your families over the holiday break and look forward to seeing our students back here on January 7th, 2019. Yours, Dr. Lara Dixon Principal Athens High School