Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

5th-Grader Death Probed

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

5th-Grader Death Probed

Article excerpt

About 20 fifth-grade students and a lunch aide were in a Dumont elementary school classroom Friday when a 10-year-old boy jumped to his death from an open second-floor window, The Record learned Saturday.

Law enforcement and school officials declined to speak Saturday about the incident at the Grant Elementary School, which they said was the subject of a police investigation.

But interviews with numerous other people in Dumont on Saturday added details that helped provide a reliable, if limited, outline of what happened.

The boy, whom officials have not identified, had been playing chess with another student during a lunchtime recess in his second- floor classroom.

He wrote a note that he passed to his opponent. Then, without saying anything, the boy walked to the window and jumped. He landed on a concrete sidewalk about 25 feet below.

Despite the new details, there was still no answer Saturday to the question of why the boy jumped.

Authorities are still trying to figure out the meaning of the note, the contents of which have not been revealed.

On Friday, a law enforcement source did not describe it as a suicide note, but said suicide is among the possible motives being investigated.

"We're all grieving for this kid," said Schools Superintendent Emanuele Triggiano. "It's a terrible, terrible accident."

He declined to comment about the particulars of the incident.

"Right now, the matter is in the hands of the Police Department and I can't comment any further," he said. "The investigation is continuing and the police have taken over the investigation."

"The investigation -- it's not nearly complete," he added.

The boy who died had been in the school district for less than a year but had seemed to fit in well. "He had lots of friends and the kids treated him like everyone else," said one student. …

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