*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
When a sudden tragedy strikes a school, an uncanny tone sweeps across the community.
The whispers of half-informed students fly down hallways and across cafeterias. Each is heard with a balance of eager interest and mournful respect.
Teachers act strangely. They hold secrets and quietly argue about how to deliver the tragic news. The chain of command is strained under the unique circumstances.
When a student dies, all decorum subsides.
Perhaps wondering what that environment feels like, Redditor ThatOneLazySushi asked:
"Teachers who had to tell their class a student passed away, what was it like?"
Many teachers talked about the times a student or students chose to take their own lives.
The moral of the story? There is simply no way to deliver that news without an injection of trauma.
"My step-dad is a private school principal who also taught 7-8th graders. Total class size was 21 or so. Over the weekend one of the 13yo died of apparent suicide. I have never seen him so pale and empty looking when he got home that day."
"You could tell he had been crying along with the students. In his 30 years he had never dealt with anything like that and he shut down for a good while. He never saw a counselor but set it up for the students. I wish he would."
A Faceless Note
"On the 2nd day that I was in my own doing student teaching, the school went into lockdown. As this was just over a year after 911, the class, a senior Government class, surmised that it had something to do with that. There has been 2 suicides of dropped-out students in the prior 2 weeks, but that did not come up."
"Then a note was slipped under the door stating that a senior, the girlfriend to one of the prior suicides, had killed herself that morning. The option was given to announce it or have someone come down from the office to do it."
"I guess they could see my concern, and the color draining from my face while reading it, as I was asked, 'Mr. D——, what's going on?' I told them, and it was heartbreaking. There was a lot of anger and a lot of tears. It has been nearly 20 years and it still haunts me."
"In hindsight, it was, to quote the Johnny Cash song A Boy Named Sue, a Get Tough Or Die moment. I've lost 5 current/former students since then, but none were as dark as the first one."
Probably the Best Response
"I used to teach English in China as an expat. The college I worked at had three suicides in a year, one of the students was in my department. Although I didn't teach the student directly, the tone of the students and my colleagues were extremely gloom."
"Although tragic, the topic of mental health had been on the forefront of school business after the third incident and a therapy office for students has been established in the administration building. I was very proud of my school for taking mental health seriously, and had a discussion with my students about the issue. I kept my office open for any students wanting to talk."
"AFAIK no other suicide/attempt was made for the remainder of my time there (~1 year afterward). Flowers were set up at the location."
"Worst day of my career. A student of mine shot himself the night before. The SRO told me that morning. The principal made an announcement over the intercom for all of my students to come to my room and instructed me to tell everyone about his passing while all the admin and district and school counselors watched."
"His best friend just got out of a mental hospital for cutting himself. He was sitting right next to me when I spoke to the class. I instructed one of the counselors to not let the best friend out of their sight for any reason. 30 minutes later, the counselor informs me the best friend has gone missing."
"I search the school and find him, razor in hand, and a bloody mess. I take the razor and hold him with one arm while calling his dad with the other. It was a long and terrible day."
Other teachers recalled times that a student suffered at the hands of community violence. These stories took place in areas where, unfortunately, despite the sadness it wasn't completely shocking.
A Constellation of Factors
"A student of ours was shot and killed. It happened just as quarantine had started so no students to tell. Just the teachers and staff."
"I had talked to the student no more than a week before everything shut down. We had threatened to call CPS on the mother because she had several children not going to school at all. We also suspected she was under the influence of drugs. He came in because of this threat and had told us his twin had been shot during a party and died. Most likely gang related for both of the shootings."
"It's difficult because these were 16-year-olds that should have had a better shot at life but the system failed them every step of the way."
Window Cleaners Share The Best Things They've Ever Seen | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
Last to Hear
"Used to teach in inner-city Chicago. Never had a student die, but several of them got shot. The kids knew well before I did."
"I actually had one student missing for three days; I mentioned it out loud that it was odd they weren't in class for three days in a row, and one of my kids said, 'Oh, Joe got shot seven times. You didn't know?' "
"Pretty harrowing stuff. It's tough to sleep those days off, especially considering how casual the kids would be about it."
Feels So Random
"A classmate from first period in my Jr. year of high school. The teacher just walked in to class and explained that this chick was shot in a drive by at the park."
"I just remember being super uncomfortable and not knowing what to do. The chick that sat behind her in class just lost it. Just shocked looked on her face, and she just started bawling. I'm sure she went home after that."
"I took flowers to the place ware she died. I didn't know her that well at all really. But I thought to myself 'even if you may not feel it, it's always good to pay your respects.' So I did."
"My wife works in a high needs area that is plagued with gang violence. A few years back 4 students were found brutally murdered in the woods (MS13 hit). 2 of them were her students It was highly publicized and everyone knew before the next school day (I believed it happened over a long weekend or a school break)."
"For her breaking news wasn't hard but dealing with the fallout was heartbreaking. Sadness, fear and anxiety not just because of the murders but because of the extreme attention it received (it was highly politicized on the state and national level). Many students are afraid of the gangs but they are also afraid of the police and other authorities. The student body is incredibly vulnerable."
Finally, some people discussed the sudden medical tragedies that took place. Without any backstory, context, or logic to share, delivering this news felt sickening.
"I was a student in a 2nd grade class where this happened. One of my classmate's older brothers had collapsed in the cafeteria. We all saw it. Our teacher had to come in and tell us the little information she knew and I distinctly remember her crying and having to leave the room."
"Days later when the brother was taken off life support they brought in child psychologists to tell us about brain death and life support machines and the hard decision his parents had to make. As an adult I really appreciate the care the school took to make sure everything was explained in a child appropriate manner."
"There was no gossip or whispering because they told us everything that happened. Our teachers even brought us to the funeral, explaining that although it would be sad it was important to show our classmate our support. A horrible situation that was handled as well as it could be given how young we were."
Just Being Kids
"(Student) In middle school I had a friend and his brother die from an electrocution accident from a downed power line after a storm. It was 2 brothers one in 6th grade and one in 5th."
"Everyone was acting weird that day and no one really knew why. Kids were crying and walking out of class, it kind of threw off our whole school day. I remember one of our teacher telling us what happened and got really emotional."
"Apparently a kid who went to our school witnessed what happened too and she basically said don't ask him questions about the situation. It hit her close to home for some reason I don't know why, she couldn't even speak without crying. I knew my old classmate a little bit and we shared a class. He was a really nice kid. RIP to him & his brother."
A Horrifying Fluke
"My son was in the 3rd or 4th grade and one day he came home and said 'P didn't come to school today, her brother died.' It turned out the older brother and mom were playing around at home and she tapped him on the head with the heel of her shoe."
"He laid down to take a nap and died due to a clot or something like that. I can't even imagine."
A Confused Response
"I was the student here, and in 6th grade the teacher and principal both told our class that our classmate had passed. He had bullied me daily. When I heard the news, 11 year old me felt relief, and I never really thought about him again."
"Now, as a more empathetic adult, I feel absolutely horrible that I had that reaction to his death. I don't think as a kid, even in middle school, I truly understood what death was. I would take getting bullied every day over him dying."
"To tie this into the question - I don't envy educators that have to deliver this news at all. Some kids are losing their best friend or classmate, and some kids may not fully comprehend what happened."
Close to Home
"Im a student not a teacher, but the teachers son died from a car accident and he was one of my friends"
"The teacher came in crying and told us there would be a meeting in the auditorium to honor his son, I ended up going home and crying the rest of the day because one of my best friends died"
A Very Sad Start to the Day
"When I was in high school two of my classmates died, one in tenth grade from Reye's Syndrome, the other in eleventh grade from leukemia. In both instances the entire school was notified during the morning announcements over the PA."
Someone To Talk To
"I teach elementary school and a student in an colleague's class (same grade) had a student pass away mid year. The student was sick. I forget what exactly he had, but it was well known he wouldn't live long, and he was frequently out of class due to illness or dr appointments."
"The day after his passing, a grief counselor was brought in and helped explain to the class what death was in a very age appropriate way. I had a couple of students in my class who were friends with the deceased student. I sent them to the grief counselor, and they said it helped a lot."
Unfortunately, when a teacher takes the job they rarely imagine these days as part of the job description. But things like this do happen, and it's so important that kids have teachers when they do.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
The world is a big and fascinating place.
What do you genuinely not understand??
Sometimes what you don't understand isn't that crazy of an idea, but it still doesn't make any sense to you.
"Why can I never find my shoes?" for example.
It's A Skill All Mother's Attain
"Why when my mother asks me to go get her something and I can't find it, but when she gets up and looks for it, the thing she asked me to get was right in front of me."
"It's called refrigerator blindness:"
It's A Game We All Play
"The economy, as in I understand everything hypothetically, but have no clue how Im going to implement my "knowledge." Yeah I know how a mortgage works, and I know how taxes work, but what do I do? Just go to the bank and say "1 mortgage please!" I just feel like Im missing something about the "real world" and since Im 17, Im only a couple years off it"
"1 Mortgage please" is just about right lol don't worry you're young. There's still people in their 30s and 40s out there who don't understand these concepts either. Just the thought of you trying to understand these concepts at your age puts you ahead of the curve. Stay curious and always ask questions."
Looking At You, Comments Section...
"When native English speakers can't:"
"Editing so ya'll can stop commenting the same ones:"
A lot of science goes deep into the territory of sounding made up. It's all real, it has to be. Otherwise it wouldn't be something we could study. Yet even with those explanations, to some it feels like there's a bit of fiction behind it.
It's Magic. Only Explanation.
"I know there's grooves but how does a needle going over those tiny grooves make such a specific sound, like the vocals, guitars, drums, keyboards, or any other instrument? And how did people invent this so long ago?"
"I've seen closeups of a needle in a groove but it still doesn't make sense to me how a few ridges can produce these sounds exactly. And how do they even put those specific grooves in there, especially over a century ago."
It Just Keeps Growing And Growing And...
"What's in space and the absolute vastness of it"
"I took astronomy in college only thing I remember is that humans will never be able to comprehend how big space is or the distance"
"From what I know, the speed of light is the limitation we're facing. The light from extremely far away places is expanding faster than the speed of light can reach us so in an infinite amount of time, we'll never get to see or even know about what was there."
All I Know Is You Plug It In And...
"I've read the theory and explanation, even simplified ones and I just still don't understand. I've done some calculations in uni for it and I had to mentally separate that it was electrical theory to understand the equations."
"Definitely black magic."
Maybe go for a walk in the park. Look at some trees. Those are easy to comprehend. No need to stretch your brain to the point of breaking.
"NFT's for me it's just online pictures you speculate with"
"You've figured it out then."
"I really hate the NFT bandwagon, because I still find no sense to it after trying to read about it every chance I get and I feel this is the line that turning me from tech-savvy to the uncle you need to teach how to use his phone."
It's All A Bit Wibbly Wobbly
"to be fair none of us genuinely understand. we're merely pretending to, by making it relative to us. good answer"
"People assume that time is a strict progression from cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff"
No On Really Knows And ISN'T THAT TERRIFYING
"Either it always existed, which is a thermodynamic nightmare which makes no sense because how can a chain of events not have a start, or it did have a start, which is preposterous because time (spacetime) is a PRODUCT of expansion; there literally was no "before" the big bang because there was no time to have a point in to call "before"."
"Ontologically, ONE of these statements has to be at least nominally true, but BOTH are f-cking bananas."
There's ideas, concepts, scientific theories, you can hear and be retaught many times yet still not fully understand. And that's okay. You don't have to understand everything. Just accept we're moving forward, in time, in a universe we don't fully grasp, and move on with your life.
You know what?
I genuinely like being an adult. I don't exactly like paying bills (who does, right?) but it's nice to know that I have my independence and that there is no one else impeding on my time. When I was a kid, I was very annoyed with the rituals of life, like going to school and seeing the same terrible people each day. Being out and about in the world, being free of these things, has been a game-changer.
But there are things you're never really prepared for, such as the fact that there's always something to do.
We heard more after Redditor Bootyshortsforcorgis asked the online community,
"Adults of Reddit, what part of being an adult caught you completely off guard because no one talks about it?"
"Even when you think..."
"How absolutely constant it all is. Even when you think you're getting a break, like a vacation, you're just doing other adult things you don't normally do in your everyday life."
Like I said... there's always something to do. Yeah, it can get to you sometimes.
"After 40+ weeks..."
"After 40+ years on this planet, you can still be traumatized by something that happened in your childhood."
Time doesn't heal all wounds, people. You know what does? Addressing those wounds. Therapy is important.
"How much I..."
"How much I would need to lie on the floor to make my back feel better."
"That many do not mature or grow up after high school."
Ain't that the truth. It's why I'm glad I no longer live in my old neighborhood.
"Having to decide..."
"Having to decide what to eat for the rest of your life. It can turn into laziness which leads to unhealthy eating. I don't wanna do all that cooking when I can just throw a pizza in the oven. Even though I know deep down I need to eat more veggies and not have food go to waste."
"That you'll spend..."
"That you'll spend a huge portion of your life doing things you really don't want to do (work, cleaning, being around people you don't like)."
Also true. One of the things that I do like about the pandemic? More time at home. I despise commuting. Do not miss it in the least.
"The complete unwillingness..."
"The complete unwillingness of most people to have difficult conversations. Most people would be perfectly happy carrying on like nothing is going on."
"Realizing that your parents were also just trying to figure it all out."
That they are. Many of us have become more forgiving of our parents as a result. Note that this doesn't necessarily apply if someone's parents are or were abusive.
"High school and college..."
"The opportunity to meet people is limited compared to when you were in high school or college.
High school and college provided you with extra activities/clubs to do that helped you meet people with similar mind-sets/interests as you. When you graduate, you lose seeing those people consistently or even at all.
So when you make it to the real world, the friends you did make from those things, aren't as available as they used to be. It can be hard to meet up and do things like you used to."
"You move out..."
"You move out and suddenly realise there are no pens. Your parents have lots of pens, but, you realise they never bought pens, they just had lots of them. Where did all those pens come from? Years of accumulation."
No one said adulthood was easy, but hopefully you'll be a bit more prepared now that you these observations in mind.
As for me... I will never miss being a teen. I'm good where I'm at.
Have some observations of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
What if? That could happen. You never know. All thoughts that muddle the mind. It is unhealthy to live life in a vacuum of despair and scare but really... you do never know. And anything can happen.
So! How to proceed. First we must figure out are you scared or cautious? And are those messages getting confused? They are important questions.
It's natural to be concerned in life, and it's smart to be ready, but living in fear is no good. For instance, serial killers exist. In fact several are reading this now. That can't stop us from going outside. Can it?
Redditor u/IgnoreAndScroll404 wanted to chat about all the things that leave us shooketh in life, because maybe, you never know. They asked:
What unlikely event are you terrified will happen to you?
I hate elevators. I'm claustrophobic. I am sure death by elevator is imminent. Has it happened to others? Yes. Will it inevitably happen to me? Yes. I mean maybe. Who can tell.
The EndFail New York Knicks GIF by Indiana PacersGiphy
"Being impaled by a log falling off of the back of a truck, final destination style."
Over Troubled Water...
"A bridge collapsing when I'm driving over it."
"Back in '93 my aunt, uncle, cousin, and I were on a road trip from Illinois to Massachusetts. We drove through NYC and we entered Manhattan on the George Washington Bridge. During that year al-Qaeda had plans of using high powered explosives in New York and one of their targets was the GW bridge. Thankfully the FBI foiled that plot before it could be carried out. I distinctively remember as we were on the bridge I was hoping it wouldn't collapse."
"Die before retirement."
"This. All that crap for nothing. This is why you should avoid overtime even if you love what you do, you're not only giving up time now but also time later. Stress will cut your lifespan down as fast as anything."
"I'm afraid that one day I'll travel to a country that's got a lot of ice. I'll for some reason, cut a hole in the ice so I can jump in. Swim a little and then not be able to rise to the top due to all the ice and can't find the way out! I've had literal nightmares about this."
Clues...clue turnaround GIF by Paramount MoviesGiphy
"I'm a woman who watches too much true crime. I'm so riveted when watching, but later in the middle of the night I wake up and repeatedly check the doorway for serial killers."
Danger. Danger is all around us. Even in the house we're in trouble. We're never safe.
The Wavetsunami GIFGiphy
"Dying by tsunami."
"This. I am simultaneously fascinated and terrified of tsunamis. I have dreams about running from tsunamis about once every couple of months, sometimes I survive, sometimes I don't, but its so freaking scary to think about. And yet I also like to look up footage of tsunamis online for some reason, like some kind of Stockholm syndrome."
"A brain aneurism. Thanks, Archer."
Rabies. Despite the fact that I'm vaccinated and the chances are low as hell that I would end up with it if I got a booster shot after exposure."
"It is basically the zombie plague from horror movies. Sure, it turns out the logistics of zombie infection doesn't lead to hoards of zombies roaming the streets. But seriously it's a ridiculous nasty disease. My grandfather worked with the virus as some sort of researcher. I got an illuminating email from him back when I was in school doing a report on rabies. Not my favorite disease by a long shot."
"I am scared a plane will crash into my house. Not actually because of 9/11, I had this fear since before then because of the major event near San Diego California where 2 planes crashed into each other mid-air. Bodies and plane parts etc fell all over a suburban neighbourhood. It's one of my biggest nightmares and still bothers me to think about that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Southwest_Airlines_Flight_182"
Knock me out...Tired Monday GIFGiphy
"Doctors doing things without my permission. Such as while under anesthesia, ignoring my requests for something to not happen, claiming I'm incompetent to make decisions, etc."
Life is a gamble. You gonna play or just wait out your turn? That is a more serious question than you think.
Capitalism wants to push its workers to work for ultimate productivity--even if that comes at the expense of other things. A worker's well-being has been placed second to their productivity in America for too long. That time is changing now.
Workers are no longer willing to be completely mowed down for a paycheck. Something's gotta give--and either it's the money or the job. And more people are willing to stand up for themselves.
"What was your 'I'm not paid enough for this s**t' moment?"
Here were some of those answers.
Think Of The Children
"Telling a grown a** man that he shouldn't be sh*tting in a school parking lot. I was eating lunch in my car and saw him in the rear view mirror."
"I got out of my car and shouted as loud as I could SIR YOU CANNOT POOP THERE, not to get his attention so much as to make him, you know, not sh*t on the side of my school building. And embarrass him out of doing it again."
"I was pissed off, too, there were two portapotties within sight of where he was."-8dogsinatrenchcoat
"When a customer had a full-blown adult tantrum on the floor of the supermarket I was working at because we were out of red cabbage two hours before we closed on Christmas Eve."
"Mind you that almost everyone eats red cabbage on Christmas here in Germany. To top this off she also threw frozen bread rolls after me because I told her to have her tantrum outside."-Lelexxia
Knowing Your Value
"While working with a client as a consultant employed by a consulting agency. The client tried to hire me full time and offered me triple the salary."
"That was like the wtf moment which made me research the market value of my skills and turned out I was super underpaid. So I left and found a new job straight away."-vegetable-table-man
It's hard to think of ourselves in terms of money, since we aren't made to be consumed for value.
Gotta Love A Truck Stop Moment
"So I'm working this register at a truck stop circa 2011. It's by a door that gets very little traffic so I mostly just watch the gift shop area and try to deter people from stealing."
"It's an overnight shift about 3 am. This man comes barreling in bleeding from his hand and yells 'IVE BEEN STABBED!'"
"Immediately I call for security. My manager is nearby. Security calls 911 on their way and shows up a few moments later. This guy is bleeding profusely, all over my freshly mopped floor mind you."
"I'm off to the side 'Sir where is the stabber?!' My manager is asking for towels, so I bring a clean towel. Again I ask 'SIR, where is the stabber?!'"
"My manager and security are saying stuff like 'Put pressure on it. Go wave down the ambulance when they arrive!' So at this point I'm practically yelling 'There is a stabber on the loose in that parking lot some where and I'm not going out there until I know where he is!'"
"Finally the guy goes 'Oh he was at the truck stop across the street. We got into an argument it wasn't random.' Relieved and now no longer fearing for my safety I went out to wave down the ambulance."
"Unfortunately $8/hr is not enough to get stabbed over."-ItsTylerBrenda
Ice Ice Baby
"I worked at a Starbucks in a grocery store and a customer got mad because she wanted a drink cold but it was served hot.
"The girl taking her order was new and didn't ask her if she wanted hot or cold, I was making the drinks so went with what was on the cup."
"So she threw it at me, while still freshly hot. Burned my face down to my stomach. I was 5 months pregnant. I quit a week later."-Zealou_luv
Sometimes, Spirit Is Inappropriate
"So if you're familiar with Build-A-Bear, you know the happy faces the employees are supposed to have. You might also be familiar with the bear stuffing process."
"You pick a bear, bring it to me, pick a heart and you do a little dance (or whatever else I'd pick) I'd stuff the bear, you put the heart in and I stitch it up."
"There was a couple that came in one night in January 2008. She was extremely pregnant. They came in and pick one of the little blue bears. I asked how they want it stuffed, the normal."
"And then when they pick the heart oh, they also pick one of the fancy hearts that has a heartbeat. Then tell me that their son, who she is still pregnant with is going to be stillborn. And they are making a bear together to give to him to be buried with."
"Obviously, I immediately tone down to the happy-go-lucky bullsh*t. The store was empty so it didn't really matter. And no, I didn't make them do the little dance and wish that you do for most people."
"I finished the bear myself, walk them through the clothing, check them out myself and then close the store. I got written up the next day for not showing the Build-A-Bear spirit. I was 16. I quit and got into a screaming match with that dumba** manager."-enemyoftoast
Mary Mary Quite Contrary
"When the boss said he was going to hire 'Mary' back. Mary, the woman who was fired for having her friends call me with death threats because I wouldn't switch days off with her."
"Mary, the woman he told me he was never in a room alone with because she was 'the type to claim sexual harassment'."
"He hired Mary back and gave her my job after I quit. He was fired 6 months later over the sexual harassment claim filed by . . . . Mary."-jaimystery
We will never put our mental and physical health at risk without being duly compensated.
"I was on a royal navy warship and we'd pulled into Hull UK for a visit. Their dockyard regulations prevented the ship from discharging solids overboard so the total of all the crews toilet flushings were diverted to a holding tank so we could discharge it overboard when back at sea."
"After the crew had been in port for two days, which for most involved copious drinking and then finishing off with a large curry or spicy kebab, the additional load on the system was too much for the circulating pump inside tank."
"The pump was also used pump the contents overboard so needed to be fixed before we went back to sea. Unfortunately I was duty electrician the day the pump failed."
"The contents of the tank was about a foot and half deep! I suited up with waterproofs and copious amounts of duct tape to seal the seams and descended."
"The pump was bolted in place and to free it I had to work with my face about four inches from the liquid curry and beer smoothies as I bent over. I definitely want getting paid enough... But I was given an order and it was my job, so I just got on and did it."-Androm57
"Was working in a large bakery for my first job at 15. Tried to pull a six foot tall baking tray but there's a lip to get the tray over, started to fall on me and caught it with my forearms, burning myself (not terribly, but still not great feeling)."
"Told my boss and showed him my swelling, reddened forearms and asked to go home. He said I could, once I'd mopped out the bottom of all the 10+ freezers and then he left, leaving me alone."
"I left as soon as he did and then rode my bike home to take care of my burns."-therustedrobot
The Donors Need To Be Coralled
"Working for a nonprofit. At a fundraising dinner, a major donor touched my knee then later my butt and flirted heavily. I am a woman and was 25 at the time."
"When I brought it to my supervisor I was told that is just something you have to put up with when fundraising if you want to make the organization money."
"Stayed at that job a few months before I was fired for not being happy enough. Note that after that incident I refused to attend events where the creep would be there.. Can't say I was sad."
"Got a job that paid twice as much and came without sexual harassment. An employment lawyer probably would have loved if I called them, but I lacked the confidence to take that big of a stand."
"Now I would absolutely take action. I would actually probably yell in the moment to get your forking hands off me. Which would have been awkward for him because his wife was present."-smughippie
There you have it. Across the board, people have put their foot down when it comes to work. If you want higher paid work, you need to pay me more.
Let's never settle for less again.