In an age where high school students communicate primarily through texts and emoji, an English teacher at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, sent each of her 130 pupils off for the summer with a personalized, handwritten note.
The project began two months ago when Brittni Darras, 25, had an eye-opening meeting with one of her student’s mothers during a parent-teacher conference.
The student’s mother revealed the reason for her daughter’s extended absence: police had received a tip through the Safe2Tell app and stopped her from committing suicide.
“She had deleted her social media accounts and left goodbye letters; she was ready to leave the world,” Darras shared on Facebook. “As her mom sat across from me, we both had tears streaming down our faces.”
Darras asked the mother if she could write a note to her student. After reading what her teacher wrote about her academic achievements and personality, the student was touched by the act.
“She started crying and turned to her mom and said, ‘I didn’t think anyone would say such nice things to me. I didn’t think anyone would miss me when I’m gone.’ ” Darras told ABC News. “It’s devastating. I think, as a teacher, that’s the worst thing you could hear, is that one of your students feels like they don’t belong on this earth. I had no idea she was having a hard time. She was always smiling and happy coming into class.”
After realizing the impact of her letter, Darras decided each of her 130 students deserved one to tell them how unique and important they are.
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Over the next two months, Darras wrote notes to each of her students. She handed them out after finals, right before they left school for summer.
“I handed them out just minutes before the bell rang and they were about to go on vacation,” Darras told ABC News. “I think the message that I’m trying to get across is you never know who’s hurting. Just a few simple words of encouragement can not only change somebody’s life; as a matter of fact, it can save somebody’s life.”