Alabama high school principle failed to tell police about student’s ‘death notebook’

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Alabama high school principle failed to tell police about student’s ‘death notebook’


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A high school principal failed to tell police about a student’s “death notebook” that was found last year and disclosed earlier this month only after the same student threatened to shoot a classmate, the mayor said Tuesday.

While prosecutors declined to file any charges, Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat told a news conference a “total lack of communication” had led to a situation that rattled some parents.

“There is no reason for this not to have been reported other than a mistake in judgment,” he said.

Police began an investigation earlier this month after a student at Hewitt-Trussville High School threatened to shoot someone with a bow and arrow, officials said. During the probe, police learned the same student had compiled a “death notebook” that was based on a television show and contained the names of about three dozen students to harm.

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An Alabama high school principal failed to tell police about a student’s ‘death notebook’ for nearly a year. The information came out when the same student threatened to shoot another student.

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Rather than reporting the list to police or school superiors when it was found last October, the principal placed the notebook in a drawer and kept it, Choat said, providing it to police after the alleged threat this month.

Police went to the student’s home and found a gun that belonged to the youth’s father, the mayor said, but the youth wasn’t found with any weapons.

While Choat said the city, located in suburban Birmingham, “dodged a bullet,” Superintendent Pattie Neill said the notebook with the list was a “fantasy” that didn’t warrant prosecution under state law.

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No disciplinary action was announced against the principal, who Neill said handled the threat this month correctly.

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