COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In this day and age kids can be under a lot of stress; from pressure to perform well in school, or sports, and sometimes even dealing with bullying.
Sadly, in some cases that leads to suicide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for kids aged 10 to 24. Seventeen percent of high school students considered suicide in the last year and 8 percent actually attempted suicide.
A teacher in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is trying to stop that from happening to her students.
Brittni Darras is an English teacher at Rampart High School. She had one of her students commit suicide before and after getting sad news about another one, she decided to try and make a difference in young people’s lives.
During a parent teacher conference a parent told Darras that one of her students had attempted suicide.
“That’s the worst news as a teacher you can possible get that one of your students was headed down that same track,” said Darras.
She decided to write a letter while the teen was recovering in the hospital.
“To let her know that I’ve missed her daughter in class and that she’s so bright and bubbly and brings so much personality to the classroom, and that we’ve missed her and it’s just not the same without her,” explained Darras.
But she didn’t stop there. Darras went on to write a 130 more letters to all of her students.
“Every single one of these kids needs to know why they’re special and why they make a difference in this world. That’s why I decided to write a card, so that when they left for summer vacation that every one of them knows that they’re special and that they have someone that cares about them.”
Darras went on to say that she wanted the letters to be personal.
“If I was to just type a note that’s not showing them how special and how unique they are, so I hand wrote them instead.”
She also made sure every letter was unique.
“It’s just different depending on the kid. Some of them are stories. Some of them are just compliments,” said Darras.
Darras wrote to every student, because sometimes the warning signs are too subtle to notice.
“That’s what makes it difficult, because we don’t always know. It’s something they internalize, which is why it’s important for us to reach out to every single one of them, because we don’t always know which one it is.”
Darras said if this makes a difference in just one student’s life, then it’s worth it.