Parents of Nashua High School North in New Hampshire are raising concerns in their community and online after the discovery of a “death note” book, containing the names of 17 different students along with brief statements about how they wronged the unnamed author and the times and dates that each would die.
The notebook, designed to emulate the death note book from the immensely popular manga and anime of the same name, caused panic when parents and students were informed about the book and what it was supposed to emulate. In the manga and anime, main character Light possesses a book that kills anyone whose name he writes in its pages. Danielle Charest, the parent of one of the students whose name appeared in the book because of “a dirty look in second grade, 8 years ago,” took to Facebook shortly after learning about the incident, expressing upset that no one at the school had contacted them sooner. “My daughter doesn’t want to return to school and is afraid for her safety both at school and outside of school,” Charest wrote. “I REFUSE to take this lightly. School shootings start with a list of people who have wronged an individual… I don’t want Nashua to be the next Columbine because we didn’t take a death threat list seriously.”
Parents were notified on Friday regarding the notebook, but school officials and police believe that the author of the book never intended any harm to the students whose names were written in the book. “We did not find any evidence that the student had intended to harm students or that there were any plans beyond simply placing the students’ names on the list,” Superintendent Mark Conrad told WMUR. “At no time did either the police or school feel that any students were in immediate danger,” further commented Deputy Chief Michael Carignan. “Please understand that we are well aware of the recent incidents of school violence and take all possible threats very seriously.”
At this time, parents of the students whose names are included in the book have been notified, but the members of the community remain in shock. “I think the mystery shrouding this is what’s causing the alarm to parents. Parents are afraid. Kids are afraid,” said Charest.
This is not the first time that the popular manga has been at the center of incidents involving students writing death notes of those who have wronged them. In 2014, an 8th grade student in Florence, Arizona, was found in possession of a Death Note-inspired list after being removed from the school. And in June of this year, a 7th grade student in Griswold, Connecticut, was suspended and investigated by state police after it was also discovered that he had a death note.
At this time, the incident in Nashua is being handled by investigators and the school. “An investigation was opened and continues. The student and their parents were interviewed, and were very cooperative and open about what was going on,” notes Carignan. “It was determined that no criminal threatening, nor any other crimes were committed.”
Help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by visiting the Rewards Zone, making a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF!
Contributing Editor Caitlin McCabe is an independent comics scholar who loves a good pre-code horror comic and the opportunity to spread her knowledge of the industry to those looking for a great story!