Teacher Writes Over 100 Letters to Her Students After Learning One Attempted Suicide


It was a parent-teacher conference Brittni Darras, a high school teacher in Colorado, will never forget.

One mother stopped by Darras’s table, not to hear her daughter’s progress report, but to tell Darras why her daughter had missed so much school. She sat down holding a list of her daughter’s teachers. Each name had either a “yes” or “no” written next to it, with “yes” meaning she was free to tell that teacher the reason behind her daughter’s absence. Darras was one of the teachers with a yes next to her name.

The student’s mother proceeded to tell Darras the truth. Her daughter was in the hospital after a suicide attempt.

“Her daughter- a friendly, intelligent, beautiful, driven, young woman- not only planned to [die by suicide], but was in the act of doing so when the police got a Safe 2 Tell report, broke in, and stopped her,” Darras shared in a post on Facebook. “She had deleted her social media accounts and left goodbye letters; she was ready to leave the world.”

The news devastated Darras. “Feeling helpless, I asked if I could write my student a letter to be delivered to her at the hospital; she said her daughter would love that,” she wrote.

“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.'”

Her student’s response made Darras realize more of her students might feel this way.

So Darras kept writing, crafting individual notes to all of her students to let them know they mattered. After two months of writing, Darras finally finished. She had a note for every student – more than 100 cards in total.

When Darras finally handed them out, she wasn’t even sure her students would read them, she told The Washington Post. According to The Post, her students loved the cards – each student hugging her as the filed out of the room for the day.

“We need to remember that each human being is unique, and that is what makes them special,” she posted. “Instead of trying to change it, we need to embrace it, because together, we can make a difference, and we can save lives!”

You can read Darras’s Facebook post below.

She writes:

Two months ago was the first time I cried during parent/teacher conferences. A mom of a student who I have taught for two years showed up at my table with a list of her daughter’s teachers. Each one had “yes” or “no” written next to it. My name had a “yes” next to it, so she proceeded to explain to me the reason for her daughter’s extended absence. 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. She had deleted her social media accounts and left goodbye letters; she was ready to leave the world. As her mom sat across from me, we both had tears streaming down our faces. Feeling helpless, I asked if I could write my student a letter to be delivered to her at the hospital; she said her daughter would love that. 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.” 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. Suicide is growing to be more and more common, and I can’t help but to think that it’s a direct result of the pressure we put on these kids- to be successful, to fit in, to be the best in their class/sport/etc. 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! ‪#‎suicideawareness‬

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


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