School Officials Investigate Kentucky Student Over 'Death Note' List
A male student at Shelby County's East Middle School in Kentucky was under investigation by school officials after a list labeled "Death Note" and containing student and faculty names was found last last month. Officials do not believe anyone listed is in danger, and they also believe that the list was inspired by the Death Note anime.
Neil Raizor, a parent of one student included on the list, said, "For anybody to put a name on a death note or wish they were dead or anything like that, it just blew my mind away."
The school's principal and assistant principal talked with the boy and professionals performed a mental health assessment.
"We did ask him if there's anyone that would want to hurt you or has anyone threatened you. He did have some concerns with a few names and it really concerned us," superintendent James Neihof said. Officials did not elaborate on what, if any, disciplinary actions will be taken. Staff are considering moving the listed students out of shared classes with the writer.
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.
A fifth-grade boy at Stewart Elementary School in Pittsburgh allegedly posted a "death note" in his elementary school this past week. Police are investigating that case and faculty notified the families of the students listed in the note. The boy was suspended from school.
There have been at least seven previous incidents in the United States where school officials linked "Death Notes" to students being disciplined. A high school senior in Richmond, Virginia was suspended in 2007 over a list of his classmates 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.
A 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. Two elementary school students from Oklahoma City were to be disciplined in December 2009 for allegedly listing two other students and the manners of their fictional deaths in a "Death Note" notebook. An eighth-grade student was suspended indefinitely from a middle school in Owosso, Michigan after a "Death Note" notebook was found in March 2010. A 14-year-old eighth-grade student from Pennsylvania's Avonworth Middle School was suspended after a "Death Note" list was found on a school bus in May 2010.
On the other hand, a Washington state librarians' group nominated the manga for a young adults' book award in 2007. The manga's Taiwanese publisher and a non-profit Taiwanese watchdog group supported the work in 2007 for raising issues. A mother in New Mexico called for a ban on the manga in Albuquerque Public Schools in 2010, but a committee voted unanimously against the ban.