Brittni Darras, an English teacher at Rampart High School in Colorado, couldn’t believe her ears when she heard one of her students had attempted to commit suicide and nearly did it. She was brought to tears after hearing it at a parent-teacher conference.
A mother had come in to talk to Darras to explain why she was missing class. The daughter was, as described by Darras, a friendly, intelligent, beautiful and driven young woman. However, the teenager had plans to leave the world and was only stopped when police broke in to prevent her from doing so. She had ended up in medical care to recover from the attempt.
Darras had always expected that her student was fine – that’s why she was moved by the moment so much. She refused to let any of her students think any less of themselves, so she began to handwrite letters to each of her 130 students. Each letter contained a personalized and touching message, letting the students know about their qualities that make their lives so valuable.
The 25-year-old teacher from Colorado Springs began with the girl who had attempted suicide, who was still recovering in the hospital. Her response showed just how impactful a single letter could be.
The recovering girl told her mother after reading the letter, “How could somebody say such nice things about me? I didn’t think anybody would miss me if I was gone.”
It’s clear how impacting the teacher’s letter was to her students.
That inspired her to continue writing the letters to all of her sophomore and junior level students – all 130 of them. For the next two months, she dedicated herself to impacting the lives of every student.
Before they went on summer vacation, she handed all of her students the handwritten letters. Many of the students couldn’t help but smile – many gathered around to Darras big hugs. Darras said, “For these other kids, it’s very hard for us to know who is struggling with thoughts of depression or suicide. If she had that response and I couldn’t see her as having struggles, the only thing I could think to do was to write every single one of them a unique card.”
Darras doesn’t plan to stop there either – she wants to do it every year, for every student under her wing.
Reactions from students, parents and media have been overwhelmingly positive. For students, it’s certainly something they’ll never forget.
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