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Heartless Teacher Has Class Write Their Own Suicide Notes

by Jeanne Sager on December 13, 2012 at 10:13 AM

writing assignmentOf all the bad ideas teachers have come up with lately, making a class full of teenagers write suicide notes has to be in the top five ... at least. And yet, that's exactly what happened at Antoine-Delafont, a secondary school in France. Thirteen and 14-year-old kids were supposed to pretend they were prepared to end it all, and then explain themselves on paper.

Parents and other teachers are -- not surprisingly -- upset. And I can't blame them. We need to talk about suicide with our kids, but this is not the way.

Apparently the suicide note assignment given to the kids asked them to pretend:

You’ve just turned 18 and have decided to end your life. Your decision appears irrevocable. As a final effort, you decide to explain the reasons for your act. In setting out your self-portrait, you describe all the disgust you feel for yourself. Your text must bring up certain events in your life at the root of this feeling.

Talk about walking a dangerous path. The teen years, especially the early "just hit puberty and my hormones are going crazy" years, are already filled with angst and confusion. These kids are already focusing on the bad. We need to turn them back in the other direction.

I wouldn't suggest ignoring suicide. Allowing it to remain taboo is just as bad as sticking your fingers in your ears when sex is on the table and pretending that your little dumpling will never make the beast with two backs.

But the conversation needs to be framed in a more positive light. Show a little sympathy!

Don't make kids feel hopeless. Make them realize what they'd be missing, what losing them would do to their friends and family.

Imagine if this assignment was, instead of suicide notes, a practice in writing their own obituaries after a hypothetical suicide. Same topic, but listing the relatives who "survive" their death puts in perspective just whom a suicide will affect and drives home how much support they really have. And they'd get the chance to list all their accomplishments.

As a mother, I'd be OK with that. Seeing my kid's suicide note, on the other hand, no way.

How about you? What would you do if your child was made to write a suicide note in school?

 

Image via KristinNador/Flickr

Filed Under: tough topics, back to school

Comments

31
  • Greta
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Greta

    December 13, 2012 at 10:17 AM
    Ridiculous. Inappropriate. Inexcusable. Dangerous. Need I go on???
  • Octob...
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Octoberbird

    December 13, 2012 at 10:40 AM
    Why doesn't SHE try and write one of her own, and then act upon it? What an utter idiot. Fire her immediately.
  • Desti...
    --

    DestinyHLewis

    December 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    I don't know. I have mixed feelings on this. When I was 15 we had a classmate hang himself. It was awful. He was a star football player with no signs, till the night he did it. He was found to have been on steroids. At that time I was an AP student and it wasn't uncommon to get serious writing topics of a serious nature. If that assignment had been given to me at that time it would have helped me process loosing our friend and the feelings I had about and myself. On the other hand, if we were given that assignment I would suspect the teacher would have had a counselor brief us prior to writing it. I don't think this was an all bad idea, just wasn't handled correctly. 


  • NoWay
    -- Nonmember comment from

    NoWay

    December 13, 2012 at 11:17 AM
    A suicide note will typically focus on everything bad and wrong in your life. Having an already depressed teen write such a note would make them focus on the bad and push them over the edge. How ironic it would be if a student usues a note they wrote for a class assignment for a real suicide note. How stupid of this teacher.
  • Doomy234
    --

    Doomy234

    December 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM
    I have to wonder what kind of class this was? I can understand if it was a creative writing assignment. However, I think that this was extreme. To make a student relive the shitty points in their life is cruel and for a teenager who might be hormonally inbalanced it could push them over the edge to think about actually committing suicide.
  • Tanya...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Tanya Frey

    December 13, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    I actually think it might be a good idea, it's forcing teens to understand that it's a REAL issue and hearing others written reasons may help them empathise with peple.

    There are so many teenagers that act like the worst creeps on earth and Mummy and Dadsy aren't doing anything. SOMEONE has to.


  • Stacy...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Stacy Jinkins

    December 13, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    This is awful! I truly believe suicide should be talked about in school with teenagers, but it's along the same lines as bullying. They need to be taught that there is help for them if they feel that way, and their lives mean something, THEY mean something to their family and friends. I would be beyond irate if my child was given this assignment, and they would NOT be doing it.


  • Tanya...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Tanya Frey

    December 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Doomy, I think this is why the assignment would be a good thing. If you think someone with a crappy past hasn't ALREADY considered suicide you're an idiot. It's not a magical Idea that only comes to your mind if someone tells you, it's a thought that creeps into your mind that you end up dwelling on and dwelling in before you do it.

    THERAPY involves reliving and talking about things that happened to you in the past. You think that's bad too?

    Maybe talking about it like this will help other teens know they aren't alone, and they can express themselves in a safe environment.


  • mrs.h...
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    mrs.hartman12

    December 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM
    A teacher is not a qualified councilor and I would pull my child out of her class so fast heads would.spin and the school board would get daily phone calls.
  • Ashley
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Ashley

    December 13, 2012 at 4:49 PM
    There are good and bad parts to this, on one hand your having young impressionable teens write about horrible feels nothing good just all bad! But on the other hand your making teens tell their teachers and their parents the deep dark secrets that may be eating at them! Things they need to pay attention for and things they may need to sit down and talk to them about!
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