We get so used to hearing of hysterical over-reactions concerning US schoolchildren with reproduction Death Notes in their classrooms. We're surely by now forgiven knee-jerk responses of 'here we go again' to each initial report of another one found.
It's become an overly pleasant surprise to find that no parent, principal nor police officer has mistaken the prop for the real thing; thus inadvertently announcing their own belief that shinigami are real and names on paper have the power to kill outside the pages of a manga.
This measured, common sense approach is precisely what happened this week in Edmond, Oklahoma, if news reports are accurate.
In fact the education district's information officer even correctly identified the replica and references as pertaining to Death Note.
According to Edmond Public Schools Public Information Officer Susan Parks-Schlepp, the assigned wish-list of their demise contained elements so fantastical that they couldn't possibly be carried out by the young teen. Privacy and decorum prevented her from recounting them, though a very familiar sounding example was used: heart-attack within forty seconds.
His replica Death Note confiscated, the Sequoyah schoolboy - who would be aged 13-14 years old - was said to be very co-operative. What happened next is detailed in a letter to parents, penned by School Principal Jason Galloway, aired via a local news channel.:
Dear Sequoyah Families,
Nothing is more important to me in my work with your children than their safety and well-being; and I honestly believe that it takes our entire community to ensure the safety of our Edmond students. This is why I am writing to you this afternoon - to enlist your support today and always and to advise you of a situation that came to my attention today.
This morning I learned that a Sequoyah student generated a list indicating possible harm to some classmates and staff. With this information, we took immediate action to isolate the student while we simultaneously contacted the Edmond Police Department via our School Resource Officer. Together, we intervened to establish contact with the student and the student's family, who have cooperated fully with law enforcement. The school has applied the appropriate discipline policy and the student is no longer on campus. As a matter of assurance, please be advised that no weapons were involved.
We are contacting the families of the students who were identified by telephone. We are confident that the school and all of our students were safe throughout this investigation and for the future as well. Thank you for your continued support as we move forward.
But from the Death Note News point of view, the most refreshing aspect of all was how no-one seems to have blurred fiction with fact. No erstwhile Light Yagami was supposed to have stepped from the pages of a manga into Edmond's real life.
Hopefully those tasked with the well-being of all children involved (and teachers too) get to smooth whatever waters were ruffled to prompt this, and the rest of us get to keep our noses out.