London: An English teacher in the UK asked over 60 teenage students to draft a suicide note for homework as part of a module on Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, sparking outrage and prompting the school to apologise.
Pupils at Thomas Tallis school, Kidbrooke, London, were asked to pen a final note to their loved ones after reading one of the play’s most celebrated scenes, when Lady Macbeth takes her own life.
However, the decision caused outrage among parents, some of whom claimed their children had been personally affected by the issue, The Telegraph reported.
Criticising Thomas Tallis for its lack of sensitivity, one mother said her daughter had been told to write the note – despite having lost three friends to suicide.
She was quoted as saying that her daughter had become “very distressed” over the issue, and had told the teacher in question that such material made her feel uncomfortable.
“My daughter had had personal experience with people her age committing suicide,” the mother said.
“On what universe was it ever, under any situation, a good idea to ask a group of teenagers to write suicide notes?” she said.
Other parents branded the decision “absolutely disgusting” and “insensitive”, with one claiming that the assignment had been ill-conceived given the age of the students involved.
“I can’t imagine why a place of education would do something so insensitive, especially as childhood and teenage depression and anxiety is at an all time high at the moment,” another parent said.
Headmistress Caroyln Roberts said, “A parent contacted us with concerns about a written exercise given to a class during studies of a play by Shakespeare.”
“We appreciate that the exercise was upsetting to the family and have discussed the subject matter and approach with teaching staff,” Roberts said.
“I met with the parent last week and apologized wholeheartedly on behalf of the school and reassured them about the actions that have been taken. The parent accepted the apology in a meeting that was friendly and cordial,” she said.