The first day back to school after discovering that another of their classmates had died proved worrisome for some Hillsboro High School students Tuesday morning.
Circulated by text messages and word of mouth, rumors of a lockdown and a gun at the school were just part of what Hillsboro students faced at school the morning after police identified 16-year-old Michael A. Walker Monday evening as the victim of a Sunday evening shooting.
“High schoolers shouldn’t have to — or any students — shouldn’t have to be dealing with the death of a classmate in that kind of way,” said Metro Nashville Public Schools spokeswoman Olivia Brown.
“This makes the third student at the school who has died since the start of the school year, so I think that probably contributed to some of the rumors and things that went on because that’s a lot to deal with.”
On the evening of Oct. 23, a car struck and killed 15-year-old Damon Donelson as he crossed Ellington Parkway, believed to be on his way to a friend’s house. Over the Labor Day weekend, someone shot 16-year-old Lamar Hughes while he attended a gathering of friends and family near the 1200 block of 14th Avenue South.
So student emotions ran high Tuesday morning.
“There are lots of rumors going around,” Brown said.
Parents started arriving at the school midmorning Tuesday to sign their kids out of school. Grief counselors were on hand for students or teachers who needed to talk to them.
Additional police officers at the school also prompted speculation that they were searching for suspects in Walker’s murder. Brown said that “still may be partially true, but then I’ve since just found out that they were there just really as a precautionary measure because this was the first day back after the child was killed.”
Other than some upset students — and the rumors — there hadn’t been any issues at Hillsboro Tuesday, according to Brown.
In a release Monday night, police said someone shot Walker, of Cisco Street, Sunday in an alley between Bradford and Douglas avenues. A witness told police two males wearing dark clothing and who appeared to be in their late teens were seen running through the alley following the gunfire.
Police asked anyone with information on who might be responsible for Walker’s murder to call Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME or text the word “CASH” along with a message to 274637 (CRIMES).