French teacher suspended over suicidal essay request
BORDEAUX (AFP) - A French teacher who has been accused of asking her students to write an essay in which they imagined themselves as a suicidal teenager has been suspended pending an investigation, education officials said Monday.
The teacher, who works at the Montmoreau-Saint-Cybard secondary school in the Charente region of western France, will discover next week if she is to face disciplinary action following an outcry among parents over a composition she reportedly set for her class of 13- and 14-year-olds.
According to local newspaper La Charente Libre, the teacher reportedly asked the pupils to imagine themselves as an 18-year-old who had taken an irrevocable decision to end his or her life. "You decided at the last minute to explain your reasons," she was quoted as instructing them. "Drawing a self-portrait, you will describe your self-disgust. Your text will go over the events in your life that created this feeling."
The teacher was suspended following an anonymous letter from parents which asked: "What will be the next subject - how do you feel when you shoot up?" Jean-Marie Renault, the academic director of the Charente region, confirmed the teacher had been suspended and would be asked to explain what she was trying to do.