Teacher reprimanded, school apologizes to families.
An elementary school in Fukushima Prefecture held a meeting on Wednesday that to discuss incidents of one teacher telling students “I’ll write your name in a Death Note!” During the meeting, the school reportedly apologized to the students’ guardians.
According to the school, the male teacher in his 30s used his own tablet to display an image of a Death Note from popular Death Note franchise. The teacher reportedly used the image to warn students from the end of November to the beginning of December last year. According to the school, the teacher told a total of four students in fourth and sixth grade that he would write their names in a “Death Note.”
The students’ homeroom teacher reported the incidents to the school principal, and the teacher was reprimanded. The principal reportedly apologized to the related students’ guardians at the end of last year. The school principal said in a statement to The Fukushima Minyu Shimbun, “I don’t think the kids had good feelings about this. As a method of warning, it’s inappropriate.”
In the Death Note suspense manga, anime adaptation, and live-action adaptations, a teenager finds a notebook with which he can put people to death by writing their names and the dictated manners of death.
There have been more than ten 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.
A fifth-grade boy at Stewart Elementary School in Pittsburgh was suspended in February 2015 after he allegedly posted a “death note” in his elementary school in February. That same month, a male student at Shelby County’s East Middle School in Kentucky was under investigation by school officials after “Death Note” list containing student and faculty names was found. A middle school in Griswold, Connecticut investigated a seventh-grade student after discovering he possessed a “Death Note” booklet. Last year, an Ohio school handed a student a three-day in-school suspension after a teacher found a “Death List” book containing the names of several other students.
Death Note-related cases around the world have lead to police investigations and school disciplinary measures. A Russian parents’ group appealed to President Vladimir Putin in 2013 to ban the manga because of its perceived harmful influence on children. Police arrested four suspects in Belgium in 2010 in the three-year-old case of body parts found near notes linked to the manga. Teachers in Sydney, Australia found a “Death Note” in the bag of an eighth-grade boy in 2009.
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