A secondary school in western France has come under the spotlight after a teacher asked teenage pupils to envisage wanting to end their lives, sparking an outcry from parents and the suspension of the teacher in question while authorities carry out an investigation.
The exercise, which was assigned to a class of 13- and-14-years-olds at the Antoine Delafont school in the western region of Charente on October 22, read as follows:
“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.”
On Monday, local newspaper La Charente Libre printed extracts from a group letter signed by angered parents addressing the school authorities. “We are outraged that this kind of subject can be assigned to children aged 13 and 14,” it read. “We are not prone to questioning the school curriculum, but there are limits […]. What is the next subject – ‘How do you feel when you shoot up?’”
Pupils told the local daily that they were “astonished” by the assignment and queried the teacher, who is in his 30s, but he was not forthcoming.