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York Prep Teacher Asks Students To Compose Suicide Notes In School Assignment

Jun 13, 2013 by

By   The drama over school-assigned suicide notes continues.

According to a recent New York Post article, one parent is upset after students at York Prep in Manhattan were asked to write suicide notes from the perspective of a suicidal character in the book The Secret Life Of Bees. The assignment, which was given to ninth-grade students, asked them to justify –- from the perspective of character May Boatwright -– why they wanted to commit suicide.

“We thought this was such an outrageous assignment for a 14-year-old to get,” a parent told the Post. “We pay a lot of money to send our kids to the school.”

However, the school’s headmaster, Ronald Stewart, told The Huffington Post he believes the assignment had merit. Furthermore, he said he has not received any complaints from parents regarding the assignment.

“The teacher wanted the assignment to be a lesson in carpe diem. … She wanted them to look and see why one should live life to the fullest,” said Stewart over the phone.

He also said he believes teachers should assign work that allows students to think about tough topics.

“We’re going to have to knock off a lot of novels [from our curriculum] if we can’t talk about taboo subjects like suicide,” said Stewart. “Are [we] supposed to ignore [these topics] or try to talk about them honestly? “

The incident comes after a string of other school-assigned suicide note controversies. In December, a French teacher asked students to pen their own suicide notes. Last June, one British parent was upset after her son’s school asked him to write a note as if he had a terminal illness.

York Prep Teacher Asks Students To Compose Suicide Notes In School Assignment.

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