Tragic News from No-Touch School

Readers: Here is a note from the young woman who wrote the petition in the post below this.

Dear Free-Range Kids: While I am thrilled with the response my petition has gotten, I have decided to suspend it indefinitely. This morning there was a student suicide at my school. In light of that tragedy, I have no desire to give my school any more publicity. Thanks.

This is beyond sad. — L.

47 Responses

  1. Even worse, now everyone at that school could really really use a hug.

  2. @Katarina: I was just going to say essentially the same thing. But I also think that perhaps that sense of “community” and the associated feeling of being “connected” to other people that the FRK movement encourages might’ve prevented this from happening. Someone might have noticed a change in the person. The person might have been more willing to open up to others. I’m not saying it definitely would have, but feeling connected to others certainly would not have hurt.

  3. Yes. Truly sad. And the students aren’t allowed to comfort each other. I think they should skip class, get off school property and mourn the loss of their friend, as friends do.

  4. I agree with what the other to posters have said. We all know the healing power of touch. I’ve read countless stories of miracle preemies brought back to health by kangaroo care. Why, just a couple of days ago, a young co-worker of mine, who lost her mom a few years ago, was having a really bad day, and was about to leave work in tears. I stopped her in the coat room and gave her what she likes to call a “mommy hug”. (I’m not quite old enough to be her mom, but she looks to me at those times when she needs a mom to talk to). The next time I saw her, she thanked me again and told me that while my hug didn’t fix the problems she was having, it made them more bearable and helped her get on with her day.

    It saddens me deeply that someone might have seen this student down and wanted to give them a hug, but couldn’t. But I also have to commend the student who started the petition for their sense of maturity to pull it during this time, and to not exploit a tragedy. That shows that there are still a lot of kids out there that can think like an adult when the situation calls for it.

  5. @Cyn: even though it would be very difficult to connect the two, I was thinking the same thing. I also hope that these “teachers” see the same thing we do and smarten up.

  6. I can’t say anything except to offer my respect for your maturity, and deepest condolences to everyone in your school and community. I bet students, friends, and some teachers will find ways to be there for one another. People find ways to connect. It’s what being human is all about.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear about that. I truly respect your decision to hold back at this time.

  8. Truly heartbreaking. I hope the school recognizes that need and power of touch at this crucial time.

  9. Katarina I am so sorry to hear this, I remember how hard it was when someone in my school died. I still feel that sadness when I look at her memorial in the yearbook.

    It may not be permitted on school grounds but let me give you a big virtual *mom hug*

  10. How sad. I wish I could give every one of those students a hug.

  11. I’m so sorry to hear this. Putting my arms around the entire school and community in spirit.

  12. Oh, no! Go and hug whoever needs it, I will write you a pass. I am truly sorry and hope the school community finds peace and comfort.

  13. I highly recommend you reconsider your actions. I would consider the barring of students from physically consoling one another almost cruel. Now is not the time to refrain from physical contact, now is the time to embrace physical contact and a time when your fellow students will need it the most. Something as simple as single hug can prevent the feeling of isolation as well as promote unity and healing. This is especially true when compassion is so wide spread due to a tragedy.

  14. I cannot believe the school did not cancel classes and exams! That is incredibly insensitive and stupid.

  15. I love how you people attribute adult thought processes to the kids. These are children, if they had made the distinction between “appropriate” and “inappropriate” during the first half of the year, such an overbearing policy would never have been implemented.

    The kids had the opportunity to be mature, and have only themselves the blame.

    The suicide is sad, but perhaps the community needs to look at this child’s problems rather than blaming the “issue of the day.” These children need real support, not just to be told that they’re somehow being wronged by the big, bad administration.

  16. Drayden – “kids” are not one unit. High-school students are individuals, and while a few may have overstepped physical boundaries and prompted the new rule, these students are not indicative of the general population. To say they have only themselves to blame is to refuse to acknowledge individuality.

  17. Drayden, I respectfully disagree with just about all of that. It’s not realistic for you to paint all students at that school (or any school) as ‘children’ who are incapable of adult thought processes.

    There are adults who act like children, and kids like our petition writer who act very mature. Part of our problem these days is that we’ve forgotten that for millennia kids were given adult status after a rite of passage (bar mitzvah, etc.) when they demonstrated that they were ready for adulthood. This might have been 13 or 16 for most kids, and the transition to adult status was more-or-less immediate.

    These days we have come up with a long middle-period of life we call adolescence, and we use it all too often not to train people into descent adults, but as an excuse to keep helicoptering and treating them as children until they are 24 or so.

    Before the 20th Century, most kids that we consider ‘high school kids’ or ‘children’ would be learning a trade, already making a living, starting a family, and shouldering adult responsibility. What makes us think it’s a good idea to incarcerate them in these schools and baby them until way past their biological adulthood has come, make up rules that say they aren’t allowed to console one another, call them all children, and wonder why they feel isolated, confused, angry, depressed, and so on?

    Those who walk, talk, and act like adults are probably adults. Those who walk, talk, and act like children are probably children, even if they are 50. There’s no magic number you can just use as your line in the sand.

  18. As the author of the petition, I must make it known that I do NOT endorse any attempt to blame the school’s administration for Connor’s death. Such an accusation is serious, and Drayden is right that we should not blame the “issue of the day.” Although I too am displeased with the way the aftermath was handled, I am firmly refraining from placing blame for the incident itself.

    Also, for those who wondered, I noticed no attempts to police hugging today. Students and teachers alike were embracing openly. The faculty was just as upset as the kids.

  19. Author – sorry to insinuate as such. My post was directed at the others here that seem to…incompletely remember their times in high school.

  20. the very first comment on this post said it all.

  21. Lafe – you’re likely part of the problem. The reason kids today feel “isolated, confused, angry, depressed, and so on” is because people like you feed them a constant stream of [the big bad that’s completely out of your control] then wonder why they feel like victims and do drastic things to feel like they’re in control.

    Kids will naturally push the rules, and they need the rules to push back. Like I said, they had the opportunity to act mature. The more mature ones had the opportunity to tell the less mature ones to get a room. Nobody took those opportunities, and now they get the consequence of sucking it up.

  22. We had two suicides in my class when I was in high school, and after each there was definitely a social group where all the girls were hugging constantly. But NO you see touching is about AFFECTION which is totally not allowed in PUBLIC.

    Drayden: I don’t know what the hell you’re on about, I don’t think anyone but you in this thread is blaming suicides on “the issue of the day” and also I hope that your judgments are based on unfamiliarity rather than familiarity with young people, and that if you ever actually meet one you’ll grow up a little.

  23. Please don’t let’s use this awful news to score points. The petition author has it right.

  24. Oh yes, typical. Can’t refute what I have to say so you insult me and declare victory. I work at a group home, and I’ve had about enough of people who have no idea how children work telling me how children work. The children trust me because they know I tell them what they need to hear, even when it’s not what they want to hear.

    Now, instead of insulting me, how about you go to a group home and try out your touchy feely methods. After someone gets hurt, you’ll be begging me to take over. And I won’t insult you, because you’ll have grown up a little.

  25. My deepest sympathy, young lady.

  26. Drayden, you work with children and teenagers who have had a bad situation in life. They’re not the norm.

  27. I’m not a touchy feely person, and would never be found hugging anyone, even in HS. But I think this rule is silly, they could have easily banned kissing, making out, sexual touching without banning all contact. That goes a little far, no?

    Drayden says- Oh, suck it up. I guess he never thought that a STUDENT taking action against it might have been an appropriate response? If someone doesn’t like a rule, the appropriate action is to change it by using method like petitions. Teaching kids to suck it up instead of trying to make changes, peacefully, politely, is what makes apathetic adults that let their government and other authorities do what they please. Who wants that?

    Also Drayden, why are you saying adults are telling kids they have been wronged, when it was a student that wrote the petition, not adults? I don’t see anyone on FRK telling kids they are victims, only the opposite. besides, even though this blog isn’t for kids, We don’t have a right to comment on it, or show support, because you said so?

    I’m not sure what working at a group home has to do with anything. So, you know some kids- Im sure they would love to know how you describe them as likely to attack over normal human actions. And who said anything about being touchy feely? This is about simple contact, which is totally different.

    As for the suicide, that is sad. I hope once the sadness and attention to this quiets down, the writer can bring back her petition. It was the smart thing to do, and still needs to be done.

  28. What exactly are “touchy feely methods” and where did someone mention them?????

  29. To the author of the petition – Your school’s upper administration has a record of dealing poorly with students with mental health and emotional issues. If their attitudes and decisions had anything at all to do with C’s death, it needs to be known so that public pressure will ensure that positive change occurs. Otherwise it will likely be swept under the rug and nothing will change. That’s the way bureaucracies work, unfortunately, even in small Vermont towns. Placing blame isn’t the primary goal – positive change that will hopefully prevent similar problems in the future is.

  30. To the petition’s author: I would say it is appropriate to suspend, for the time being, your petition, especially if the whole thing blows over anyway. However, if it doesn’t, don’t let this horrible incident cloud things, if this is still an issue (no touching etc), then once enough “healing time” has passed, consider re-instating it.

    As for the whole “group home” thing: my response is, frankly, so what? That makes as much sense as working in a prison and saying that since prisons don’t allow females and males to mix that the same should apply to school. I mean no disrespect towards the situation for a person who works there & what has to be done to keep order, but I’m seeing apples & oranges here all the way.

    LRH

  31. Following the NO TOUCH would be the
    NO SPEAKING TO OTHERS / >followed
    by a NO LOOKING AT OTHERS / Etc Etc.

    Wot half baked crackpot nonsense some
    people come up with. One only presume
    that it be rooted in their religious teaching.

    Centuries of christian brainwashing used
    for appalling propaganda. An human form
    evil / it claimed all be born of SIN as LUST.

    Such nonsense preached for many many
    centuries / where it t’was taught / claimed
    one called JESUS was but born of a virgin
    claiming he free of SIN // having the ability
    in removing SIN OF OTHERS. /// So called
    SIN REMOVED ONE THEN QUALIFIES IN
    GOING TO AN FICTIONAL HEAVEN THAT
    SOMEWHWERE BEYOND THE CLOUDS.

    Religious organizations in preaching such
    nonsense have such turnover of $millions
    yearly / where laugh all the way to the bank
    at their power as financial gain over others.

    For many centuries within western nations
    ability to read write was witheld.The church
    feared with learning the people would then
    challange Authority of church they fearing if
    learning then people would begin question
    that of religious brainwashings / teachings.

    Over past few centuries millions have freed
    themselves from that of halfbaked crackpot
    religious organizations. However being still
    millions of unfortunate souls still held in the
    the clutches of such appalling organizations
    whom use bible as means to rob in gaining
    their wealth power /over the many vulnerable.

  32. @ The author
    Regardless of how disturbing the policy is, especially under the current circumstances, I agree with your decision and reasoning. By not wanting to increase tensions at the moment, even if justified, you’re showing great restraint and maturity.Not everyone would do the same, including, unfortunately, some of the commenters here. Thanks also for avoiding the trap of blaming the school for the tragedy. I’m also glad, but not really too surprised, that the administration is letting the new rule fall by the wayside for a while🙂

  33. I feel like I should point out this kid probably didn’t commit suicide due to a lack of hugs. There are lots of people who kill themselves who have lots of hugs and love and support from others. My brother was one of those people. All you can really do is be nice to people and hope for the best.

    I’m so sorry about this tragedy, and I hope everyone who hears about it takes the opportunity to tell their family members that they love them. Smile at people at work and school whether you know them or not. Just be friendly.

  34. And I’m sorry, but william wallace did you seriously just blame this on Christians? I’m confused by your whole post, so I’m not sure what your point was.

  35. You are right to suspend the petition. Your school, as well as the faculty and students, are under a spotlight at the moment, and what you need now is solidarity, not an issue that will divide.

    On that note, I also agree with Larry H. Once you’ve recovered from this terrible tragedy, if you and other students feel the touching policy is still unreasonable, then by all means introduce the petition again. I think you’ll find more support than opposition in your pursuit, especially given the clear, concise, intelligent, and mature way you’ve presented it.

    Our family’s thoughts are with you and your community tonight.

  36. To the author – I am so sorry this has happened in your community. You have made another wise and insightful decision and you have my respect and support, and that of most, if not all, of us here.

    Melanie

  37. Feelings of disconnectedness increase the risk of suicide. It’s unfortunate that this great kid is suspending her petition, because lack of touching can increase the disconnectedness that everyone feels. I hope she will take it up later. Even better, maybe the school will give up this stupid hairbrained idea and see the utter ridiculousness of it, especially in light of the tragedy.

  38. Dear Readers,

    As a parent who recently moved from Washington D.C. to Bear City, Utah I can completely understand the feelings of this young person. We were so happy to leave that haven of suspicion, mistrust and political correctness. Now, we live in a place where boys and girls can hug, speak, argue, and disagree.

    It is a shame that most Americans in the larger cities can’t experience the joy and freedoms we not enjoy.

    SP

  39. bequirox / For a individual in taking their life
    the suffering having gone long / in reaching
    a point where their sorrow to a extreme / as
    lasted over a long period /many many tears.

    Many people do not kill themselves where
    hear a few kind words / as be given a hug.

    Life has testing times through many trials
    tribulations in learning // there be times of
    stress / anger / etc. / However such does
    not call for one turning to suicide. /Suicide
    the result of ones suffering to the extreme
    where support little unto its very minimum.

    If having negative attitude towards such a
    loss of life be no help to those in seeking
    change toward compassion / dont forget
    the good samaritan / he did not not pass
    but aided though the victim neared death.

    Such point of post / in informing an brain
    traveling through stages of development
    connections are ever made / which then
    expand ones brains capability. In time it
    be one reach the ultimate in experience
    in understanding upon the material level
    it be then one reaches the final stages of
    human development unto enlightenment.

    Thus through meditation /one turns ones
    senses inward / doing so it starting such
    process that unfolding ones spiritual self.

    In such development of understanding as
    experience of spiritual self / all questions
    answered// even such questions one not
    yet having asked / will then be answered.

    The human form be the gift of all gifts that
    capable through heart / brain / in revealing
    all knowledge. Thus the bridge that allows
    access unto both material spiritual realms.

    It with great regret failing an brother / sister
    turn to suicide /where feeling so unwanted
    where lacking in their basic understanding
    of the human journey / Fail in their knowing
    that a human life /the most precious of gifts
    that capable in gifting an ocean of love / joy.

  40. “My post was directed at the others here that seem to…incompletely remember their times in high school.”

    Drayden, I remember my times in high school extremely well. I remember my resentment at being treated like an incompetent child with no perspective on my own needs and capabilities, when I was anything but–I was essentially directing my own life at 16. I remember being infuriated at the irrational, absurdist rules aimed at my age-mates who behaved like grade-schoolers, but which nonetheless harmed *my* education and wellbeing.

    Teenagers mostly behave as maturely as they’re expected to. When schools treat them like they’re stupid, and signal that they will do so almost no matter what, it’s no surprise that many of them act like they’re stupid. But most of us actually weren’t.

  41. I hope the author will reinstate the petition after an appropriate amount of of time has passed. Public scrutiny can do a school a world of good in the long run.

  42. Author: You are being very responsible and I agree with your decision to suspend the petition. I would just say, once things settle a bit, don’t fear bringing it back and pushing for it once more. In light of the tragedy it should make it even more apparent why it is necessary to repeal that rule.

    @Everyone arguing: I’m actually a bit disheartened to see the flaming going on between Drayden and others. On other posts, I get it and we have these types of “debates,” but I’d think that this particular post deserves more awareness and restraint. “There’s a time and a place,” seems to work well in this instance… I don’t think this particular post is the time or place for a flame war regarding teen intelligence. Just my thought.

  43. @ Author, I think you show great wisdom. Maybe there will be a time to pick the cause back up, but only you can really know what to do. Just trust your own feelings on this.
    Hugs to you and your school mates at this devastating time.

  44. […] petition the week after next (to ensure not to interfere with mid-terms), she has since decided to scrap the petition, as one of her fellow students committed suicide, and she didn’t wish to attract any more […]

  45. I just want to note (however depressingly) that, at a rate of ~4000+ teen/college-age suicides/year, this event is happening an average of 11 schools per day.

  46. Nicola / some may feel / such negative attitude
    is wrong. However my opinion your having the
    right giving opinion though being totally wrong.

    The attitude one should not use their brainbox
    express their feelings / delay expressing their
    feeling / emotion / is but half baked nonsense.

    Nicola / dont be so negative towards the light
    if a brave soul takes a stand against injustice
    then support them. / Don’t go sit on the fence
    where try in pleasing all./ Open up your heart.
    Dont spend your life upon your knees / being
    ever afraid of the dark fearing the force of evil.

    Through the countless centuries many have
    given their all / unto life / that fellow brothers
    sisters are made free from slavery /brutality.

    Where an brother or sister driven to suicide
    then a great great wrong having been done.

  47. This truly is tragic news. However, I feel I must encourage you to not give up. After you have all had time to mourn this loss, please continue with your petition. I wish you the best.

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