We all know how important and influential teachers are in the lives of their students. It’s not just because they teach them every day (although that’s a big part of it!), but it’s how they talk and listen to students between classes that makes a huge difference too. This is precisely why one Colorado Springs teacher told each of her students how special they are, after one attempted suicide.
In a Facebook post, teacher Brittni Darras wrote that during parent/teacher conferences, a mom came to explain why her daughter had a lot of absences:
“Her daughter–a friendly, intelligent, beautiful, driven, young woman–not only planned to commit suicide, but was in the act of doing so when the police got a Safe 2 Tell report, broke in, and stopped her.”
As Darras wrote, the student had deleted her social media accounts and written goodbye letters:
“She was ready to leave the world…My student got the letter. Her mom said that her daughter cried, turned to her mom and said, ‘How could somebody say such nice things about me? I didn’t think anybody would miss me if I was gone.’”
This made Darras rethink everything. She wanted to find a way to tell each of her students that they do matter, and do make a huge difference. Because of this, she started writing letters to each of her students:
“It made me realize that I was way too close to losing another student to suicide. I spent the next 2 months writing cards to every one of my students–over 100 of them–telling each one what is special and unique about them.”
Many people don’t realize that suicide is the third leading cause of death for kids ages 10-14, as Scary Mommy pointed out via statistics from the CDC–which means it shouldn’t be overlooked, even if a kid merely seems to be joking about it.
Adults often forget how hard it is growing up, especially since kids have a lot of pressure because of standardized testing, being the best in a class/sport/extracurricular, not to mention bullying. And unlike before, their lives are blasted all over social media. Getting an extra reminder from a teacher can make a huge difference in a kid’s self esteem. As Darras says herself, we also need to remind kids that being different is actually a good thing:
“We need to remember that each human being is unique, and that is what makes them special. Instead of trying to change it, we need to embrace it, because together, we can make a difference, and we can save lives.”
If you or someone you know is in need, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help: 1-800-273-8255. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help.