A French teacher is under fire after assigning his class to write suicide notes as homework. The unnamed teacher at collège Antoine-Delafont, a secondary school in southwestern France, was suspended after asking his 13- and 14-year-old pupils to compose their own suicide notes.
France24 reports that although the 'suicide assignment,' as it's being called, was issued in October, the teacher was only recently suspended after parents of students in the two classes complained about the controversial nature of the assignment.
"We are not prone to questioning the school curriculum, but there are limits," a group of parents stated in an anonymous letter sent to the school, according to local newspaper La Charente Libre. "What is the next subject? ‘How do you feel when you shoot up?’”
The prompt for the 'suicide assignment' asked the students to imagine what they would say to themselves in their final moments.
“You’ve just turned 18. You’ve decided to end your life. Your decision is definitive. In a final surge you decide to put in words the reason behind your decision. In the style of a self-portrait, you describe the disgust you have for yourself. Your text will retrace certain events in your life at the origin of these feelings.”
The assignment, created by the teacher at his own discretion, was not part of the school's curriculum. According to the BBC, the teacher has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation launched by France's education department, but could receive further sanctions.
Despite the public outcry by many concerned parents, some community members are rallying behind the teacher, saying the subject was "well presented." A local parents association issued a statement demanding that he be immediately reinstated, the Telegraph added.
In September, a Texas school teacher drew criticism for a similar assignment in which he asked fourth grade students to depict the events of Sept. 11, 2001 by drawing suicides and explosions.