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Noose found in locker room of Athens High School in Troy, administrators say

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TROY, Mich. – Administrators at Athens High School in Troy are investigating after they said a noose was found in the boys' locker room Thursday.

In a statement to parents, school officials said it was near the end of the school day when a group of students coming from a physical education class found the rope fashioned into a noose in the rear shower area of the locker room.

There was no note or writing left in the shower area, officials said.

"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," the statement said.

Officials said they are also investigating whether the rope was intended for use in a self-harm incident.

The school asked parents to have a conversation with their children and encourage them to speak to school staff if they know anything about the incident.

"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," the statement said.

Read the full statement below:

Dear Athens Parents, 

I want to let you know about a disturbing incident that occurred near the end of the school day today. Students coming from a physical education class discovered a rope that was fashioned into a noose in the rear shower area of the boys’ locker room. We immediately began an investigation and have spoken to the students who found the rope as well as to staff who work in the immediate area and have also begun a preliminary review of nearby surveillance video. 

No note or writing was left in the shower area, nor have we developed any solid leads at this time. 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. Although it may be less likely, we also must investigate whether this rope was intended for use in a self-harm incident, for the rope was placed in an area seldom used and not readily visible. 

Regardless, this is where we need your help. 

Please have a conversation with your student. If your child knows anything about this incident, encourage him/her to speak to an administrator or teacher first thing tomorrow morning. It is vitally important that we get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible. 

Let me also say this: 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. 

If any parents have any questions or concerns, my staff and I are always available. When we have completed the investigation or pertinent new information comes to light, I will update parents. 
Thank you for your cooperation; thank you for caring about all at Athens, 

Dr. Lara Dixon
Principal, Athens High School 

Kerry Birmingham
Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives
Troy School District
 


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