HUNDREDS of schoolchildren had to be ushered out of classes and set home yesterday (wed) after a man was found hanged in the playground.
The horrific discovery was made at St John Vianney RC Primary, Edinburgh, this morning just as classes were about to get underway.
It is understood the body was found by a parent who thought they saw a doll hanging from a tree.
Staff immediately called parents to ask them to collect their children and the school was shut for the rest of the day.
A source close to the investigation said the death was being treated as suicide.
Edinburgh council said it is offering support to staff and more than 250 pupils, although it is not thought any children saw the body.
Police were called at 8.50am after the body was found in a wooded area within the grounds of the school.
The man is believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s and police are still trying to establish his identity.
One local resident posted on Facebook: “Apparently a mum went up thinking it was a doll in the tree and touched it. It was human – so horrible.”
A woman, whose grandson attends the school in the Inch area of the city, said: “I live near the school and when I first saw all the police I panicked, thinking it could be a shooting.
“My daughter called me to say I had to collect my grandson.
“When I went into the school there was at least nine police officers and they are still at the school.”
The woman, who asked not to be named, added: “My grandson has been asking question all morning. Why would anyone do that at a school in front of little ones? I just can’t understand.”
Although the school was closed immediately, some parents – looking upset – were still arriving as late as 1pm to collect their children.
Police stood guard at the main entrance to the school as forensic experts examined the place where the man’s body was found.
The school is surrounded by a high, anti-vandalism fence and it is not known if the man walked into the grounds yesterday morning or climbed over the fence while the school was closed.
A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police responded to a primary school in the Inch area of Edinburgh after a man’s body was found within the grounds.
“At this stage the circumstances leading to the death of the male are being investigated and a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.”
Edinburgh council said no children actually saw the body, but they were sent home as a “mark of respect.”
An Edinburgh council spokeswoman said: “A body was found this morning in woodland area off the playground.”
The school is expected to reopen on Thursday.