Former student says Clarksville teacher in hot water for social posts saved his life

Zachorie Suggs (Courtesy: Clarksville-Montgomery County School System)

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Clarksville teacher who is in hot water after a series of social media posts is speaking to News 2 for the first time, while one of his former students who says the educator saved his life.

A former West Creek High School student contacted News 2 and asked to share his experience with Zachorie Suggs.

The former student, who is now 18, asked News 2 to conceal his identity because he was concerned about cyber-bullying.

He said his freshman year of high school he went through a deep depression and was planning on taking his own life.

He texted his then-teacher Mr. Suggs a suicide note.

“He received it instantly and just in time, he called my parents, tried to call me, he sent me messages, to keep me alive,” said the former student.

“They came in time before I ended my life.” he continued.

The former student told News 2 Suggs continued to be a positive influence in his life even after the incident.

“He came to me with support like no other teacher, in and out of school,” he said.

As News 2 reported Thursday, Suggs is now under fire for his tweets dealing with racial issues, sexuality and people with special needs.

The Montgomery County School District has opened up an investigation and told News 2 it will make a decision on how deal with the issue.

Suggs declined an on-camera interview at this time, but sent News 2 an email response reading in part.

“When I began teaching contemporary issues, there was no guidelines or curriculum for the class, so I developed a model to spark debate, encourage engagement and provoke conversation,” wrote Suggs.

He said he created a personal Twitter account to find information from news sources from diverse political perspectives and encourage dialogue and discussion.

Suggs said he eventually began using his Twitter account “as a citizen in matters of public concern.”

He went on to say, “None of my speech has interfered with the functioning of my class, the school, or the school system.”

Suggs said the Twitter posts that someone sent to the school district were taken out of context and he hopes to have the opportunity to continue teaching with the Montgomery County School District.

The school district told News 2 it will decide how to handle the issue by the start of the new school year.

According to the district, the teachers are back in session Aug. 3 and students return Aug. 7.

Click here to read Sugg’s entire email to News 2.