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Suicide-pact rumor keeps students home in Black River Falls

About two-thirds of middle and high school students in Black River Falls stayed home Monday, after rumors spread that teens would be shot to fill a suicide pact.

Police Chief Don Gilberg says there's no evidence such a pact existed and there's no proof that students were ever in danger.

But just in case, police and school officials set up metal detectors Monday, searched belongings, and limited access to the high school.

It all started after a 16-year-old boy killed himself Feb. 24, and a 17-year-old committed suicide last Thursday. The two incidents were apparently unrelated.

But the victims were said to be on a list of teens who agreed to commit suicide and those not dead by Monday would be shot at school.

The three elementary schools in the Black River Falls district also had high absentee rates. Up to 30 percent stayed home Monday.

Gilberg said the rumors really flew after last weekend's boys' basketball game between Black River Falls and Onalaska.

By then, almost every high school student knew about it as did a lot of parents. The chief said it was all "the product of someone's fertile imagination."

He asked anyone who knew how it started to call the police. But he says there's no evidence a crime was committed. He says it's unfortunate, but there's no law against spreading rumors.