One of the greatest tragedies that any family can face is for a member of that family to commit suicide. It is especially hard on parents when one of their children take their own lives. They can suffer for years wondering how they could have prevented it.
In today’s growing secular society, suicide among teenagers has almost become an epidemic. They are taught in school that they are just another animal and that there is no supreme being to whom they are accountable to. The kids are taught that there are no absolute rules and the number one priority in life is themselves. This leaves them without meaning and purpose and when faced with many of life’s pressures, they believe the easiest way to cope is suicide.
Since teachers spend so much time with our kids and grandkids, they should be watching for any signs of trouble and withdrawal. Teachers need to be doing everything possible to help give the kids hope and purpose.
But one teacher in Montmoreau-Saint-Cybard, France decided that wasn’t his/her role. Instead, the teacher gave the following assignment to a class of 13 year olds:
“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.”
One student’s suicide note was not specific enough for the teacher. When parents saw the assignment, they were outraged and contacted the school saying:
“We are horrified that this type of topic should be proposed to children between 13 and 14 years old.”
The teacher has been denounced by local, regional and national education officials. Jean-Marie Renault, a local school official said:
“Telling a pupil that he is about to end his life and that he must recount it appears troubling to us.”
Geneviève Fioraso, France’s higher education minister also commented saying:
“If the topic was launched in this way, without accompaniment, without context, it’s dangerous.”
At the moment, the teacher is on suspension. But ironically, a number of the students claim the teacher is one of their favorites and don’t want to see him punished for the assignment and some of the parents have said they want to see him return to the classroom. One parent went so far as to say:
“Suicide is part of daily life. Perhaps the teacher wished to raise their awareness of the issue.”
I completely disagree with that parent’s statement as well as condemn the teacher for such an assignment. If he wanted to deal with the subject of suicide, then he should have broached it in a much different way. Students of any age should not be forced to come up with a reason to take their own life. Instead, the teacher should be discussing why they have a reason to live and perhaps discuss the pain and horror that suicide inflicts on family and friends.
Most importantly, they need Jesus Christ in their lives to understand that we are all made in the image of God and that Jesus gives our lives purpose and reason for living. I can say this because I was there once. I planned and looked forward to my own suicide, but thankfully, God intervened and put just the right person in my life at the precise time to prevent me from carrying out my own murder.
I remember a similar incident at a university here in America about ten years or so ago. The professor had his students not just write a suicide note, but to write out how they were going to carry out their own suicide. After two of the students took the assignment too seriously and actually did commit suicide, then and only then did the university take action and dismiss the instructor.
Teachers and parents need to understand that today’s kids don’t need help and encouragement to commit suicide, they need real answers and help.