The entire basis for the “School Spirits” story is that Maddie was murdered and is now a ghost, but she has no recollection of the last few hours leading to her death. She just woke up one day and found that she wasn’t a part of the living world anymore. The fact that she doesn’t know how she got there has added to her angst about finding out what actually happened to her.
Before Maddie died, she had a lot going on for herself. She got good grades and was the teachers’ favorite. She was well on her way to getting into the university of her choice, and Maddie also had a boyfriend, Xavier, whom she loved a lot. Therefore, Maddie must have felt the need to find out what happened, not just for herself but for her near and dear ones, to get the closure they needed. But there are quite a few surprises waiting for her on the way.
Xavier and Maddie had been going strong for quite a while. Maddie could never imagine that Xavier would do something to hurt her, despite her best friend Simon’s dislike for him. Simon is especially suspicious since Maddie’s phone was found in Xavier’s backpack, and he was taken by the police to be questioned about it, though it leads nowhere as the sheriff is Xavier’s father. But Maddie overhears Xavier telling his dad that he’s been cheating on Maddie with Claire. He had accidentally sent a message meant for Claire to Maddie, and he had been trying to erase that, which is why he had Maddie’s phone. Though Maddie continues to have suspicions about Xavier’s involvement in her death, her attention soon deflects to Mr. Anderson.
Maddie is extremely reluctant to believe that Anderson could have harmed her because he had been one of her most supportive teachers. When he had noticed Maddie struggling due to her mother, he had counseled her, saying that it was okay to take things one day at a time. In another incident, when Sandra had crashed the car, it was Anderson who had stepped in to help Maddie. She had wanted to take the blame for it, as her mother was drunk when driving, and she would probably be taken to jail if the truth was revealed. But his being a good teacher does not mean that his hands are clean. Simon had found a piece of Maddie’s phone in the storeroom, and he had given it to Anderson, but they found that he had never given it to the authorities. Maddie and Simon also overhear a phone call where Anderson is telling someone that he should not have given money to Maddie.
When Maddie and Simon check the classroom after he leaves, they find cash behind one of the tiles on the wall. But they find no more proof against him, connecting him to Maddie. However, through one of the ghosts, Maddie figures out that Anderson has been stealing from the school. He had just repurposed the school’s old band costumes instead of getting the team new ones and then pocketed the money. Anderson thought that Maddie knew about it and was blackmailing him for it, which is why he supposedly gave her the money, but this part is just a theory since Maddie was the only one with his phone number. It looks like a dead end, but at the last minute, Maddie figures out the code to Anderson’s phone, and they find that the person he had called about giving Maddie money was Claire.
Claire is the duo’s next suspect in Maddie’s case. She has been unlikeable from the get-go since she was never friends with Maddie but has been using her death to further her own agenda. She is doubly suspicious because Claire’s backpack was found in one of her father’s unused houses. Maddie and Simon enlist Xavier’s help to figure out the truth about her, and he starts pretending to want to date her again. But Claire is suspicious, though she plays along. However, Claire doesn’t last long as a suspect because, when she finds that Xavier is just trying to get to the truth, she confesses that she had discovered that Anderson was stealing money and was blackmailing him into giving her perfect grades. When they thought that Maddie was blackmailing him, she told him to give her the money. But that had been all, and she had no hand in Maddie’s death or disappearance.
Maddie’s other best friend, who had been a pillar of support for Sandra after Maddie’s disappearance and who had continued to be a staunch believer that Maddie was still alive, was the last person we expected to suspect. But when Xavier and Simon break into the evidence room and find that the boot print Nicole had found during the search for Maddie did not actually belong to her, Nicole immediately starts looking suspicious. Simon theorizes that she must have stolen Anderson’s number from Maddie’s phone, and that is why everyone thought that Maddie was blackmailing him because only she had his number. While this part remains true, Nicole did not kill Maddie. She had not been able to get into the school she wanted, and she did not have the money to pay the tuition. That is why she had been blackmailing Anderson: for the money to be close to her friends. Simon and Maddie believe her, and when they try to look for the money, they find it missing. Since Nicole buried the money after coming back from Sandra’s, they suspect that she might have stolen it.
Sandra is an alcoholic, and Maddie has always had to be her caretaker. We are assuming emotional neglect on her part and possibly physical abuse as well. When Maddie disappeared, Sandra seemed to clean up her act and start looking for her daughter, so much so that Maddie wondered if it was worth solving the mystery of her death if it meant that her mother might slip back into her old ways. But when Sandra receives news that Roger South is suspected of killing her daughter, she grabs the bottle again. However, in the last few minutes of “School Spirits” Episode 7, we noticed that Sandra was hiding an envelope in the drawer as if putting it out of her sight.
There was also a person following Simon and Nicole in the woods, and it could be her since we suspect that she was the one to initially follow Nicole. Finally, Maddie starts getting flashbacks of her last day, and she remembers having a fight with her mother, with Sandra calling her ungrateful and there being something vaguely resembling a murder weapon in the background. It is possible that Sandra killed her daughter in a fit of drunken rage. But that doesn’t explain her connection to the money. With the finale of “School Spirits” not too far away, the mystery of Maddie’s death is just waiting to be solved. It could be Sandra, or she could be the last clue that would ultimately lead us to the murderer. That remains to be seen.