From The Tribune staff reports
TRUSSVILLE — Hewitt-Trussville High School (HTHS) Principal Tim Salem has been placed under administrative leave until further notice. Joy Young, a current assistant principal, will be the acting principal at HTHS during this time, according to an email to HTHS parents from Trussville City Schools (TCS) Superintendent Dr. Patti Neill.
“Safety remains a first priority, and your students have been and will continue to be safe at HTHS,” the email states.
Neill stated that she met with Mr. Salem earlier today, and his message to the faculty and staff is below:
“Dear HTHS Staff,
I wanted you to know that I’ll be on administrative leave effective immediately and Joy Young will be the acting principal while I am away. We are off to such a great start to our school year and we have some important testing coming up regarding the Pre-ACT. I want everyone to continue to stay the course with teaching and learning. Mrs. Young will do a wonderful job and will have the full support of central office. It is an honor and privilege to work with all of you and I know that our students and parents are in good hands.
Salem was put on administrative leave following a Hewitt-Trussville High School student being suspended after terroristic threats were made on Friday, Sept. 16.
According to Trussville Police Department (TPD) Chief Eric Rush, TPD was investigating the threat when they were notified that, last school year, the same student had created a “death notebook” containing 37 names.
“During that investigation, we were informed that the same student was found with a death notebook in their possession last year,” Rush said in a previous interview. “We were not notified last year of the incident.”
A parent source said that five students whose names were written in the book had specific methods of their death. The parent said that one of the methods was “shot by an AK-47.”
Rush said that the student responsible for the “death notebook” created it based on the show “Death Note,” where a character discovers a book that, if someone’s name is written in it while the writer imagines that person’s face, he or she will die.
The student has been reportedly suspended, according to the Rush. Concerned parents have informed The Tribune that the student was reportedly sent to alternative school for 20 days after a hearing was held with the school system on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Rush said TPD has notified all the parents of the students whose names were written in the book. The parents of the student responsible for the book were not notified when the original incident took place.
According to a memorandum of understanding passed by the Trussville City Council and Trussville City Schools in 2020, as soon as any incident that threatens school safety occurs on school property or occurs at a school-sponsored event, the SRO is to be notified as soon as is reasonably possible. The agreement further states that “TPD shall take the lead on all incidents in which a criminal charge or delinquent act is alleged to have occurred.”