GIVATAYIM, Israel – After students read a poem with a shocking ending, they were assigned to write suicide notes.
Israel Hayom reports 11th grade advanced English students at Thelma Yellin High School were instructed to write suicide notes after reading “Richard Cory,” a poem about a “wealthy man who committed suicide” in the last line.
The news site reports:
The controversial homework assignment was designed to have students explore the depths of Cory’s character to understand the motives that drive someone with a seemingly perfect life to commit suicide.
The assignment was exposed by radio personality Irit Linor.
“Yes, dear eleventh graders of Thelma Yellin,” she wrote, “You who want to be singers, actors, directors and musicians: There is no better way to learn English than to write suicide notes.
“Did I or did I not say 1,000 times that kids should be sent to study normal subjects at normal schools?”
After Linor exposed the questionable lesson, the school pulled it.
The Education Ministry released a statement saying, “The principal of the school cancelled the assignment. The school’s guidance counselor will hold discussions with the students about more appropriate ways to deal with this topic.”
The Givatayim municipality distanced itself from the school, releasing as statement as well, saying, “Although Thelma Yellin High School is physically inside Givatayim, student registration is nationwide and not local, so the issue is being dealt with solely by the Education Ministry.”
The news site reports the poem is authorized by the Ministry to be taught, but “is not a mandatory part of the English curriculum.”