The high school that served as the basis for the book and movie Friday Night Lights is reeling from a teacher’s apparent suicide and sex scandal.
Mark Lampman, a social-studies teacher at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, was found dead last Wednesday after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson told the Associated Press and other outlets.
One day earlier, Lampman resigned from his job amid allegations of an improper relationship with a student, according to various media outlets.
The school district said it was leading a criminal investigation into Lampman, who had been a teacher with the Ector County Independent School District for 17 years, according to the Odessa American.
In a statement, the school district said it was “deeply saddened by the events that unfolded” and that crisis counselors would be available to all students and faculty members.
“We know and understand emotions are raw, and we have seen a number of very inappropriate and hateful posts to social media sites this evening. Out of respect for the families involved in this tragedy, we are urging everyone to remove all angry messages from all accounts and refrain from posting any more. This type of dialogue is not helpful, nor is it healing,” the school district’s statement said in part. “We consider ourselves part of the same team — the same family — and we must work together to get through a difficult time like this.”
The accusation against Lampman is the latest in a series of allegations of school district employees having improper sexual relationships with students at Permian High School.
Permian High School’s powerhouse football program was chronicled in Buzz Bissinger‘s 1990 book Friday Night Lights, which was then made into a movie of the same name.