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Classes resume a day after shooting death at Stillwater Junior High School

Police are not releasing further details on the apparent suicide of a 13-year-old at Stillwater Junior High School while the investigation into the death continues, a police captain said. Classes continued there Thursday, a day after the death.
by Juliana Keeping Modified: September 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm •  Published: September 27, 2012

— Hugs, counseling and tears were part of the day Thursday at Stillwater Junior High School as students coped with the suicide of a classmate a day earlier.

Cade Poulos, 13, shot himself in the head with a handgun in a school hallway about 10 minutes before class began Wednesday morning. Students were locked into classrooms and then bused to a nearby strip mall while police assessed the scene.

The focus when students returned Thursday was on beginning the healing process, not curriculum, school officials said. Students were free to leave class to talk to counselors or leave messages of support for the family on banners.

Police were continuing their investigation into the suicide at the school of 767 eighth- and ninth-grade students. Poulos did not leave a suicide note. There was no indication any other students were ever at risk, Capt. Randy Dickerson said.

He declined to discuss where Poulos got the handgun.

The act stunned the community and drew national attention to the university town of about 46,000 people 65 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

Dickerson said he spent much of his time Thursday talking to dozens of media outlets to dispel rumors that persist on social media sites. Officers were needed to direct traffic at the school because media trucks blocked access Thursday morning, he said.

Detectives have not uncovered a problem with bullying, despite numerous social media posts that attribute the death to bullying. The school has no record that the boy was bullied.

Stillwater Schools Superintendent Ann Caine said Thursday she had talked with Poulos' family.

“It is definitely not due to bullying,” Caine said the family told her.

“Everyone's talking about how well-liked he was. The hard thing is, any time there's a tragedy and since bullying is the current national buzz word, people are quick to say, ‘This must be due to bullying.' But obviously, there are other reasons why a tragedy like this happens.”

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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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