14-Year-Old Terrifies Mom With 'Suicide Note' His Teacher Told Him to Write

suicide noteHey, as a parent, I'm all for schoolwork that encourages kids to "share and express their feelings." But I'm not so sure writing "suicide notes" is the best way to go about that, necessarily. Just ask Vicki Walker of the UK, whose 14-year-old son Wesley was told to pen a goodbye letter to his family as if he had a terminal illness and only a few hours left to live as part of a "creative writing" exercise. And, of course, to take said letters home and give them to their parents. Being a good and cooperative student, Wesley did just that, handing the letter to Vicki before going off to bed. No explanation. Just a note beginning with these words:

"I'm writing this letter to say good-bye and thank you for giving me life and don't cry ... "

Can you imagine? Poor Vicki! I would absolutely lose my mind if my kid handed me a note like that and walked away without a word. Just wait until you read the rest ...

Welsey's note continued:

I don't want you to be sad. I want you to remember the fun times and the happy times. At my funeral make everyone wear bright colors to remember my personality. I know I have been a pain at the best of times but I am with Nan and Grandad now. So I love you and goodbye and tell Piper she can have my room and tell Tasha sorry for everything. Sorry Tash. And tell Dad he is the best and can have my Xbox and games and Mum you can have everything else. Please be strong for me!

Naturally, Vicki panicked.

"I felt I was going to find him hanging from his bed, I found it sick ... he handed it to me one evening and then just went upstairs to bed. I really felt like I was going to find him hanging from his bed and maybe he felt he couldn't take any more."

Of course she felt that way! Good lord, it's a miracle she didn't have a heart attack on the spot. I don't understand why headteacher Rob Ridout didn't anticipate this sort of complication when he approved the assignment, but it sounds like the possibility never even occurred to him:

"The exercise was to enable young people to express emotions and share things with loved ones that they never normally say ... many pupils and their families found it an encouraging and positive experience."

"It's unfortunate that the context of this exercise wasn't explained to Wesley's parents, and we'll look at the way exercises like this are communicated to our students in the future."

Well, I should hope so. Yikes! If I were Vicki Walker, I'd be sending Ridout daily reminders to "look at the way exercises like this are communicated" to students. In fact, why not just eliminate "exercises like this" entirely? This is too touchy a subject for "as-if" type creative assignments. What if some of the kids had siblings or friends who actually committed suicide or died suddenly?

What would you do if your kid got this assignment?



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MomoJL MomoJL

First, this title is misleading, and second, why didn't mom just go talk to her kid, instead of just wondering if he was going to kill himself? 
The school assignment sounds fine to me.  The kid should have explained, or mom should have asked.

corri... corrinacs

I agree with you MomoJL.  And I love your "Calm Down" avatar :) :).

MomaL... MomaLlama

I don't really have a problem with the assignment, I think it's good to be introspective even for kids.  I can totally see your average kid handling it the same way this kids did though, "Oh, by the way here," and then leaving.  Yeah, as a parent it would freak you out if you didn't know what it was all about, but once you found out what was going on, I don't think you should blame the teacher. 

nonmember avatar Adam

Wow...what a sensational and very misleading headline...but hey, if you actually implied the truth you wouldn't have gotten me to click through AND leave a comment about how you have chosen a misleading headline for your article.

PonyC... PonyChaser

My son is still in the primary grades, but when he has a bigger assignment coming up, his teacher will send home a note outlining the ins and outs. Perhaps just a heads-up from the teacher would have been appropriate in this case.

I can also see the touchiness of the topic.. using a terminal disease could be a very touchy topic for some. Perhaps a "last will & testament/living will" type of assignment would have been better - because we're ALL going to die sometime, and that is an actual document that everyone should be familiar with, anyway.

Finally... WTH with the title??? This was NOT a suicide note!! Not in any form!

tiny_... tiny_mama

I kind of giggled.. Context FAIL!

Sidthe Sidthe

...I actually like the assignment we did something similar in my creative writing class we had to write our last will and testament. If anything the kid should have told the mom it's for a class. It's not the teachers fault the kid followed the assignment perhaps she should have made it clear to tell their parents BEFORE handing it to them and walking away.

kuwel... kuwelsdestiny

Someone tell me why this kid didnt tell his mom what the assignment was? Lol this almost sounds like the kid took the assignment and used it to "punk" his parents, and it worked.

nonmember avatar kaerae

Probably should have come home with a note explaining the assignment, but save the outrage. It's a worthy assignment for a teen and no one got hurt.

Maevelyn Maevelyn

I think this is a little bit of a stretch. It's not a sucide note and its a very cleaver assignment. writting is about putting yourself in an emotional, vulnerable place. Yeah he should have offered and explanation but I think this is a no harm no foul situation. I thnk he was messing with his mom. 

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