Teacher Moved By Student’s Attempted Suicide
Brittni Darras sat in tears during a parent/teacher conference. It was a first for this Colorado Springs teacher. But finding out that the extended absence of one of her high school students was because of an attempted suicide was both shocking and heartbreaking to hear. And it inspired this English teacher to put her God-given talent of writing to use in an effort to make sure each and every one of her student’s knew just how special they were!
Brittni had been teaching the girl who attempted suicide for two years. She described her as a “friendly, intelligent, beautiful, driven, young woman.” So she was stunned as the girl’s mother explained that she’d not only planned to take her own life, but was found in the midst of trying to do so.
Losing a student to suicide was something the high school teacher had experienced before, and something she’d hoped to never have to relive.
A Heartfelt Letter
So, she asked the girl’s mom if she could send a letter with her to the hospital — something the grief-stricken mom greatly appreciated and accepted. Brittni says,
“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.'”
The girl’s reaction hit Brittni hard. And so, the English teacher sat down with pen and paper and an aching heart.
Over the next 2 months, Brittni penned a heartfelt letter to all of her students — over 100 of them!
The considerate teacher made sure that every handwritten note outlined what it was about the student that made them special. And it’s that detailed personalization that had such a great impact.
“I was just first of all surprised by how much she wrote,” says Bree, one of Brittni’s students who received a note. “Usually when people write letters, it’s like one or two sentences, like either ‘Happy Birthday,’ or ‘Merry Christmas,’ or ‘I hope you’re doing fine.'”
Making A Difference
The time and thought Brittni put into each letter is a testament to what a caring person she is.
And it’s precisely what her students love about her.
“It was just incredible,” Bree went on to say about her teacher. “She has such an eye, like to see things and to actually listen to her students.”
For Brittni, who points out in her Facebook post that suicide is on the rise, it’s about letting her students know that it’s okay to be who they are:
“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!”
A Heart For Her Students
And it’s not the first time Brittni has gone above and beyond to show her students just how much she cares.
The school where Brittni teaches has been helping fundraise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for quite some time. A few years back, the school was hosting a Bald for Bucks assembly — a fundraising event where donors pledge money for participants volunteering to shave their head. In addition to teaching, Brittni was also the Varsity cheerleading coach. When one of her cheerleaders wanted to shave her head for the event, Brittni wasn’t going to let her do it alone. Right by her side, Brittni shaved her own head too, a decision she describes as a "life changing impactful moment” that change it for the world.
Teachers rarely get enough credit for all they do. But Brittni’s devotion to her students is thankfully bringing attention to these often unsung heroes. And she’s reminding all of us just how powerful a kind word can be.
Be sure to share this story with everyone you know. Then, take a minute to send a letter, email or text to someone telling them what it is that makes them special!
“So then, go on comforting and building up one another, as you have been doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
This young man was going to commit suicide, but then God spoke to him!