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The Daily Telegraph newspaper of Australia reports, in an article about "serious incidents" in schools during the six months ending this past April, that teachers found a "Death Note" in the bag of an eighth-grade boy in southwestern Sydney. In the Death Note suspense manga, live-action films, and anime adaptation, a teenager finds a notebook with which he can put people to death by writing their names and the dictated manners of death.
According to the newspaper, the student's "Death Note" contained a death list and a diary with a "battle plan" of where bombs could be planted in his school. The "Death Note" listed classmates and four faculty members, and it also specified that some would die by drowning, heart attack, and "drinking himself to death."
There were at least four previous incidents in the United States where school officials linked "Death Notes" to students being disciplined. One high school senior in Richmond, Virginia was suspended in 2007 over a list of his classmates' names that the school principal linked to Death Note. A middle school student in Hartsville, South Carolina was "removed" from school over a "Death Note" notebook in March of 2008. In Gadsden, Alabama, two sixth-grade students were arrested in the following month for a notebook that allegedly listed their school staff and fellow students in a manner similar to the Death Note anime series. The Kopachuck Middle School in Gig Harbor, Washington expelled one student and disciplined three others in May of 2008 for writing 50 names in their own "Death Note" book. However, a Washington state librarians' group nominated the manga for a young adults' book award.
Death Note has been the subject of scrutiny by schools in other countries such as China and Taiwan. School officials in the Chinese city of Shenyang banned the manga and replicas of the Death Note notebook in 2005, and the educational bureau in Taiwan's Pingtung County warned parents about the manga in 2007. On the other hand, the manga's Taiwanese publisher and a non-profit Taiwanese watchdog group supported the work for raising issues. Two messages left in a Belgian crime scene have been associated with Death Note, but police in that 2007 case have yet to identify a suspect or any further link to the manga.
The Daily Telegraph notes that Australian school principals are campaigning for more counselors to address the reported increase in mental health issues in younger students. 50 "serious incidents" were recorded in the country's schools during the six months ending this past April.
Source: The Herald Sun