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Troy — A rope that was fashioned into a noose found in the boys' locker room at Troy Athens High School Thursday was a "cry for help" rather than a "racially motivated incident," school officials said.

The Troy School District is investigating the "disturbing incident," they said.

Lara Dixon, the high school's principal, informed parents about the incident in a letter Thursday.

She said students coming from a gym class discovered the noose in the rear shower area of the locker room. The area is seldom used and not readily visible, she said.

Dixon said they identified and suspended the student responsible, pending the outcome of a hearing, per their Student Code of Conduct. Dixon said the incident was "more of a cry for help surrounding some ongoing mental health issues, rather than a racially motivated incident."

"That said, we are mindful of the abhorrent symbolism of a noose to our community and understand the valid feelings of those who had seen or heard about it," Dixon wrote. "We are sharing this information — with parent permission— not to minimize the emotions of those hurt by this incident, but to help with understanding of the full context of what occurred."

Dixon urged parents to speak to their children about their feelings. 

"Just as importantly, we would like you to remind your children that the wonderful racial, cultural and ethnic diversity at Athens — as well as the entire school district — is something we place a high value on," he said.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

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