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article imageTeacher in France suspended over 'suicide letter assignment'

By Can Tran     Dec 12, 2012 in World
In France, an unnamed male teacher was given a job suspension due to angry parents because of an assignment he gave students on suicide.
Imagine yourself back in school and your teacher handed you an essay assignment. It has to be on a specific essay topic that your are assigned. For the most part, this can be any topic. This is where teachers are placed between a rock and a hard place. They want their students to use critical thinking; hot and controversial topics are by no means an exception. In the case of a teacher at the Antoine-Delafont secondary school in southwestern France, the essay topic was “suicide.” Suicide has been a very touchy subject on a global level.
In the case of the United States, suicide is a major problem. According to Asian American Suicide Prevention & Education, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the country. Among the Asian-American community, it's the 8th leading cause of death.
In the case of the United States military, with extended tours in the Middle East, there's the concern of suicide within the ranks of the armed services due to suffering from conditions such as PTSD. According to one Army mom, suicides in the military are getting out of control. This Army mom, Libby Busbee, saw her son (a rank of Specialist) had a gun to the side of his head. She witnessed her son taking his own life.
You also have the growing number of cases of teen suicides. Such examples are David Phan, Josh Pacheco, Erin Gallagher, Ciara Pugsley, and Amanda Todd. The cases of Gallagher & Pugsley and Todd respectively took place in Ireland and Canada. These five teenagers were the subject of bullying with some cases being cyber-bullying.
In the case of France, the unnamed teacher gave the assignment of writing a suicide note as an essay. The students, being between 13 and 14 years old, were tasked with thinking that they're 18 years old. Not only that, they are to think about ending their lives on a hypothetical basis. They are further tasked with the objective of explaining the reasons they decide to take their lives. It is revealed that the unnamed teacher is a male; but, the name hasn't been given out yet.
So far, this essay assignment has gotten the attention of students' parents. As the parents complained about the assignment, the teacher was suspended. However, some students have jumped to the teacher's defense. Also, not all the parents were against the teacher. There are parents that wish to see the teacher re-instated.
There are other reasons that this assignment caused much alarm. TIME's News Feed reports that suicide is the 2nd frequent cause of death in France. It also reports that this assignment was issued back in October.
At the moment, the fate of the teacher is unknown. Will the teacher be able to return to work or will he be fired? With this assignment, while met with positive reception from students, has definitely touched a couple of nerves.
More about France, Suicide, Teen suicide, Suicide prevention, french news
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