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UPDATE: ‘Suicide’ teacher returns

UPDATE: Slap on wrist as education chiefs say essay was a blunder and he should think more about teaching methods

A TEACHER suspended after asking pupils to write an essay to write on suicide has returned to school – with a warning to think more about teaching methods.

The man, who teaches at Collège Antoine-Delafont in Montmoreau-Saint-Cybard, Charente, had won support from parents’ groups, who had demanded his return to school “for the good of the children”.

They said: “The reality is that they appreciate his qualities.”

Education chiefs in Poitiers gave him a slap on the wrist in saying it had been “blunder” rather than a “professional error”. Recteur Jacques Moret added it was not “something minor and it is important to recognise that it was not a subject to be delivered like that to the pupils”.

Previous story:
A TEACHER has been suspended after giving 13 and 14-year-old pupils a suicide letter to write up as homework.

The man, a French teacher at the college in Montmoreau-Saint-Cybard, south of Angoulême in Charente, had asked the pupils to “imagine you are 18; you have decided to end your life... you decide at the last moment to give the reasons for your actions. In writing your self-portrait, you describe all the disgust you have for yourself”.

Suicide is the second cause of death in young people and parents and the parents’ federation FCPE reacted angrily after learning about the assignment. They called the education authority; who knew nothing of it, as it was not any part of the curriculum and the teacher had done no preparatory work. The authority has started an inquiry.

The task was handed to the pupils towards the end of October but the pupils had thought it was just a normal part of school work and said nothing to their parents, with many of them learning of it only when they read the homework notes from the teacher.

On one pupil’s essay the teacher had written in the margin: “Not enough detail”.

One parent asked if the next essay would be on how the pupils felt as they shoot up drugs, while the head of the school’s FCPE parents group criticised the assignment, saying it was virtually an invitation to suicide.

FCPE president Jean-Jacques Hazan denounced the assignment as “completely crazy” and said it was even more dangerous for any youngsters who had already had such thoughts.

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