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Swedish pupils 'told to pen suicide note'

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Swedish pupils 'told to pen suicide note'
A school assignment has stirred debate in Sweden. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/SCANPIX
17:14 CEST+02:00
Parents have hit out after their 13-year-olds were asked to write a suicide letter in Swedish class. But the school says the controversial assignment was only a misunderstanding.

Mums and dads in Skellefteå in northern Sweden were shocked when a number of children came home from school to report that they had been told to write their own suicide notes in class as part of a wider assignment on mental health.

“We are several parents who became very upset when we heard about this,” one parent told Swedish broadcaster SVT on Wednesday.

“I am completely aghast,” said another.

The pupils said that they had been listening to an audio book in class about a girl who wanted to end her life. Afterwards they claim they were told to write a letter to the mother in the story explaining that the suicidal thoughts were not her fault.

According to parents the teens were encouraged to think about their own mothers if they struggled with the assignment.

“It feels very unpleasant,” an unnamed parent told SVT.

But school bosses in Skellefteå put the controversy down to a misunderstanding.

“It's an existing assignment in a renowned text book that the teacher has used,” the council's children and education head Jan Söderström told the national broadcaster.

“It is very sad that it is being perceived this way,” he added and said that the school, which has not been named in Swedish media, would be sending a letter to all parents explaining the assignment.

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