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Old 21.03.2016, 17:16
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Re: Train suicide

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So simplistic, so black and white. In reality we all know people are complicated and social dynamics doesn't work this way.
Ideally, yes, it would be wonderful if we could just shrug it off, every time.
Because the law is that black and white. You are free to offend, be rude, shocking, distasteful, disturbing, whatever.

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Yes, but with that freedom comes a certain amount of personal responsibility. Just because you can say something, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should say it without due thought.
This is purely up to the individual whether or not they wish take personal responsibility for what they say. And this is a good thing. The alternative is far worse.
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  #122  
Old 21.03.2016, 17:20
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Re: Train suicide

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No, you don't. The only one who is in control of their own feelings is you. When you start demanding people respect your feelings, then it's another way of telling them what they can and can't say.
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Because the law is that black and white.
What about empathy?

Living solely "by the law" without concern for others seems quite an empty life to me.

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  #123  
Old 21.03.2016, 17:26
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Re: Train suicide

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No it's not telling people what to say or not, it's just expressing an opinion, and trying to make others aware. I have been guilty of some comments in the past. But I can tell you now, that as someone who has had to deal with suicide, I do not make these comments. It's just about awareness and consideration. You would probably be surprised how many people contemplate or have attempted suicide. Since my experience some close friends, who i would never have guessed, have attempted it and have only just informed me. Could be the same in your circles. Just saying, not dictating.
Yes it is telling people what to say. By saying "I'm hurt" or "I'm offended", you're just basically unhappy at someone else's opinion and are using victim status in order to try and silence them.

In the past 18 months I've known people, some distant acquaintances, some closer, to have died because of cancer, hit by a drunk driver, heart attack, fallen off a mountain and yes, suicide. These things happen. Stopping people from discussing them won't make it go away.
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  #124  
Old 21.03.2016, 17:41
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Re: Train suicide

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What about empathy?

Living solely "by the law" without concern for others seems quite an empty life to me.
Empathy is your choice. And judging by the threads on personal tragedy on this forum, we have it in abundance. When people come on here talking in detail about personal loss rarely has their been an unpleasant or insensitive remark. Which is a good thing for the forum.

But there's a difference between showing empathy for those who warrant it and those who wish for a topic not to be discussed due to a tenuous link to the subject matter.
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  #125  
Old 21.03.2016, 17:54
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Re: Train suicide

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But there's a difference between showing empathy for those who warrant it and those who wish for a topic not to be discussed due to a tenuous link to the subject matter.
I read this thread yesterday and deliberately stayed away from it until today because I didn't like the way it was going. Others affected by the issue have made a decision to post their experiences of the issue. They haven't done so to seek sympathy or empathy. The way I read it is they have asked that the matter be debated with a degree of decorum and respect. I don't see that as too much to ask.

We all have our limits, and they vary quite wildly. It's difficult to encompass all angles, reactions and responses. But this is the internet. We have a breathing space to construct our thoughts and ensure we're not misunderstood or misrepresented.


Not so in a face to face debate. When logic and reason fails in that arena, we have to choice to act or walk away.
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  #126  
Old 21.03.2016, 18:01
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Re: Train suicide

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I read this thread yesterday and deliberately stayed away from it until today because I didn't like the way it was going. Others affected by the issue have made a decision to post their experiences of the issue. They haven't done so to seek sympathy or empathy.
To me showing empathy is a sign of respect.
Difference between sympathy and empathy - first and second definition
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Old 21.03.2016, 18:02
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Re: Train suicide

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With any tragedy, there are people who wallow in the grief of others and personalise it, many empathise, many are pragmatic, some are desensitised and some are blatantly obnoxious.
And many seek humor as a form of release. Others rage at the machine.


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But we are supposed to be above ridiculing each other for how we respond to tragedy and grief.

Some have asked that jokes not be made on this thread as they feel they are not appropriate. Others have disagreed. Politely. This is not ridicule. This is a disagreement. It rarely happens on the internet, but sometimes, it does...

You claiming offense when none was given only weakens your position.
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  #128  
Old 21.03.2016, 18:02
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Re: Train suicide

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Perhaps teachers should check in with their colleagues once a week to discuss the week ahead?
That is part of the protocol and happens, once a week, exactly as you mentioned.

Another part of protocol is to treat certain subjects/issues with dignity and respect, tact. It is not a question of individual interepretation of individual teachers. Not complying with this is processed. Again, anyone who teaches even a short while is informed, the issues in questions are listed together with how to treat them. It is not a question of subjective way to interpret the gravity, or significance, that one teacher would privately and personally attribute to certain "taboos'. Those are not taboos, teachers are not restricted in their teaching academic freedom, but teachers are instructed how to approach certain themes in generally quite well defined respectful and helpful manner and ecouraged to avoid insensitive, haphasard way so students grow and learn.

This didactical accompaniment and support of teachers with suggestions and coaching is an advantage for those who are new or don't know, not something restrictive or negative
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  #129  
Old 21.03.2016, 18:02
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Re: Train suicide

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Yes it is telling people what to say. By saying "I'm hurt" or "I'm offended", you're just basically unhappy at someone else's opinion and are using victim status in order to try and silence them.

In the past 18 months I've known people, some distant acquaintances, some closer, to have died because of cancer, hit by a drunk driver, heart attack, fallen off a mountain and yes, suicide. These things happen. Stopping people from discussing them won't make it go away.
We were talking about using the subject matter as a joke, not as part of a general discussion. I am not using victim status, I am expressing my opinion, like you. Would you use your "arbitrary jokes" about being hit by a drunk driver, or dying of cancer in front of the people you know who were affected by it. Just curious.
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  #130  
Old 21.03.2016, 18:07
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Re: Train suicide

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Was listening to a programme the other day about the amount of young people who are committing suicide, especially young men. I find it so tragic that so many lives are lost usually over things that maybe there is a solution to.
Young men under thirty are the most at risk. What a huge burden society must place on young people's shoulders for them to do anything so desperate.

I'm sorry for your loss, and for all those here dealing with the fallout of someone's suicide.

I totally fail to see any comic angle.
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  #131  
Old 21.03.2016, 18:11
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Re: Train suicide

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We were talking about using the subject matter as a joke, not as part of a general discussion. I am not using victim status, I am expressing my opinion, like you. Would you use your "arbitrary jokes" about being hit by a drunk driver, or dying of cancer in front of the people you know who were affected by it. Just curious.
Would I go and make a joke to someone who I'd known had recently lost a family member to a, b or c? No I wouldn't. Would I risk a joke to a class full of rowdy teenagers with the sole aim of grabbing their attention and bettering their education? Absolutely.
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Old 21.03.2016, 18:16
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Re: Train suicide

Empathy cannot be legislated and dark humor cannot be understood or appreciated by all.

The teacher clearly should have thought twice about the tasteless nature of his physics example.

I fail to see here that forum members are responding specifically to the stories of other members' personal experiences of suicide by joking about them, though.
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  #133  
Old 21.03.2016, 18:17
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Re: Train suicide

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Would I go and make a joke to someone who I'd known had recently lost a family member to a, b or c? No I wouldn't. Would I risk a joke to a class full of rowdy teenagers with the sole aim of grabbing their attention and bettering their education? Absolutely.
If you knew that one of the student's best friend just died? No, you wouldn't. How do I do know? Because this is not a hypothetical situation for me.

We can wax over freedom of speech and people being responsible on their own, for how they feel. But caring for oneself also starts by caring for others and vice versa. Teachers are not in a class to manifest their freedoms primarily but try to teach the young ones to feel for others, too..and help, when needed.

It is not hysterical here, I find the system well balanced.
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  #134  
Old 21.03.2016, 18:21
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Re: Train suicide

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Would I risk a joke to a class full of rowdy teenagers with the sole aim of grabbing their attention and bettering their education? Absolutely.
I think that's one of the places where the EFers' opinions differ - your considering this teacher's action to be a "risked joke" can be seen by others who have lost friends and loved ones to suicide as cold and unfeeling. You have the right to be whatever you want - but there is a time and place for everything, and finding the time and place which places the smallest number of students possible in emotional distress is something a teacher like the one in that school should do - before he starts teaching, and if he can't grab the students' attention by use of his chosen example (suicide) without risking severe negative emotional effects in them, he should change the way he wants to bring across a certain subject matter.
Other people do matter, and thinking that something is just a joke shouldn't be a free pass to dish out things which have a high potential of hurting others.
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Old 21.03.2016, 18:21
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Re: Train suicide

I would imagine that men in financial trouble fair quite high in the suicide stakes too. Maybe someone (to pick a random hypothetical scenario) like a teacher that had been banned from his profession for life because of a relatively inconsequential misjudgement.

But that's a small price to pay when weighed against the the pleasure of a few internet shamers, that only a good dose of schadenfreude can provide. **** him, eh?





For the sake of the statisticians, I have one confirmed suicide and an open verdict among my dead close-relatives. I'm not clear whether that entitles me to an opinion or whether I should just automatically join the outraged queue.
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  #136  
Old 21.03.2016, 18:31
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Re: Train suicide

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Sometimes, it doesn't have to do with a clinical depression - it can just mean the only way out of a hopeless situation.
There is always hope, period.

The issue is, someone battling their own demons might not be in a position to realize that, and that's where we (the community) step in, letting that someone know where they can get help (as Odile suggested). If they choose to go forward with their plan, sad truth, but we (the community) have a moral responsibility to try anyway, always.

Sacking the teacher? I disagree. A tasteless example, but I'd give him/her a stern talk and perhaps a "demotion", or a negative performance rating. I think sacking should be a last resort measure.
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Old 21.03.2016, 19:42
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Re: Train suicide

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If you knew that one of the student's best friend just died? No, you wouldn't. How do I do know? Because this is not a hypothetical situation for me.

We can wax over freedom of speech and people being responsible on their own, for how they feel. But caring for oneself also starts by caring for others and vice versa. Teachers are not in a class to manifest their freedoms primarily but try to teach the young ones to feel for others, too..and help, when needed.

It is not hysterical here, I find the system well balanced.
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I think that's one of the places where the EFers' opinions differ - your considering this teacher's action to be a "risked joke" can be seen by others who have lost friends and loved ones to suicide as cold and unfeeling. You have the right to be whatever you want - but there is a time and place for everything, and finding the time and place which places the smallest number of students possible in emotional distress is something a teacher like the one in that school should do - before he starts teaching, and if he can't grab the students' attention by use of his chosen example (suicide) without risking severe negative emotional effects in them, he should change the way he wants to bring across a certain subject matter.
Other people do matter, and thinking that something is just a joke shouldn't be a free pass to dish out things which have a high potential of hurting others.


Just to throw my hat in the ring - it is both possible and necessary that difficult topics are discussed in the classroom. It's how they are tackled that is the crucial thing. Death - by suicide, accident and murder - have been discussed in my classrooms (and I've had students in there that have been affected by these) as have issues of abuse in probably all of its forms at some point or another, including neglect and substance abuse. Again, these were not always hypotheticals, some students had lived with or through these things.


Should they be made light of? Absolutely not. However I do not believe that they should be ignored. They are emotive, triggering topics but handled properly, with sensitivity, tact, and some gumption (for it is not easy to do) then all of these discussions can be had in a classroom. To be honest, it would be nigh on impossible to teach Literature (and History)without addressing these topics at some point, some of them simultaneously.


Sometimes - and these are the worst times, and they do happen - these things are discussed and we do not know the history of everyone in the room and the fallout is ... not good. In those, thankfully rare, occasions, it has been my experience that everyone in the room steps up. And then the appropriate people are involved.


If we do know - and often we do know because we have a duty of care, and a significant pastoral role to play - then we can effectively "warn" the student (s) and give them the option of participation. Exam texts, for example, often contain difficult themes - one year the options for GCSE study included novels containing themes of substance abuse, rape, murder, suicidal thoughts and PTSD - and they have to be tackled or else we are failing in another way.


Sometimes outrageous (though hopefully not insensitive) statements are made in order to grab attention, to provoke a discussion but they need to be done in a measured way.


I think what I'm saying is that I think the teacher in question was misguided - either inexperienced and/or without good direction - but I do not believe it is a sack-able offence. Should he be given a good talking to? Yes. Apologise? Yes. End his career? No. The caveat being that he should never, ever, pull a stunt like that again - and all contentious things to be discussed with a colleague/line manager beforehand - just as we all should and likely do. Just in case, because you never do know.
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  #138  
Old 21.03.2016, 19:50
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Re: Train suicide

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Just to throw my hat in the ring - it is both possible and necessary that difficult topics are discussed in the classroom. It's how they are tackled that is the crucial thing. Death - by suicide, accident and murder - have been discussed in my classrooms (and I've had students in there that have been affected by these) as have issues of abuse in probably all of its forms at some point or another, including neglect and substance abuse. Again, these were not always hypotheticals, some students had lived with or through these things.


Should they be made light of? Absolutely not. However I do not believe that they should be ignored. They are emotive, triggering topics but handled properly, with sensitivity, tact, and some gumption (for it is not easy to do) then all of these discussions can be had in a classroom. To be honest, it would be nigh on impossible to teach Literature (and History)without addressing these topics at some point, some of them simultaneously.


Sometimes - and these are the worst times, and they do happen - these things are discussed and we do not know the history of everyone in the room and the fallout is ... not good. In those, thankfully rare, occasions, it has been my experience that everyone in the room steps up. And then the appropriate people are involved.


If we do know - and often we do know because we have a duty of care, and a significant pastoral role to play - then we can effectively "warn" the student (s) and give them the option of participation. Exam texts, for example, often contain difficult themes - one year the options for GCSE study included novels containing themes of substance abuse, rape, murder, suicidal thoughts and PTSD - and they have to be tackled or else we are failing in another way.


Sometimes outrageous (though hopefully not insensitive) statements are made in order to grab attention, to provoke a discussion but they need to be done in a measured way.


I think what I'm saying is that I think the teacher in question was misguided - either inexperienced and/or without good direction - but I do not believe it is a sack-able offence. Should he be given a good talking to? Yes. Apologise? Yes. End his career? No. The caveat being that he should never, ever, pull a stunt like that again - and all contentious things to be discussed with a colleague/line manager beforehand - just as we all should and likely do. Just in case, because you never do know.
I agree with your sentiments mostly, also that one should discuss sensitive subjects in class.
One can discuss a topic as sensitive as suicide without using physics calculations related to an excruciating suicide method to get their point across, though - perhaps discussing suicide (pros, cons, current views, past views etc.) during ethics class in circumstances very different from the VD physics class would gently guide the students toward the subject of suicide in a much less brash way, and in a way which doesn't turn them off and might even help them deal with their loved ones' deaths, rather than upsetting them.

I'd hazard a guess to say that teaching students is not just about the mundane job of "getting in a certain number of subjects in a given amount of time", but also about so many different things, of which I think that being human and having the right to grieve and deal with one's own hardships as one deems appropriate, as well as seeing the boring, repetitive, happy, wonderful and hilarious sides of life, also are very important parts.

Last edited by glowjupiter; 21.03.2016 at 20:07.
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  #139  
Old 21.03.2016, 19:53
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Re: Train suicide

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I agree with your sentiments mostly, also that one should discuss sensitive subjects in class.
One can discuss a topic as sensitive as suicide without using physics calculations related to an excruciating suicide method to get their point across, though - perhaps discussing suicide (pros, cons, current views, past views etc.) during ethics class in circumstances very different from the VD physics class would gently guide the students toward the subject of suicide in a much less brash way, and in a way which doesn't turn them off and might even help them deal with their loved ones' deaths, rather than upsetting them.


You can indeed. I agree wholeheartedly. Apologies for not making that clear in my post.


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Old 21.03.2016, 20:00
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Re: Train suicide

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These things happen. Stopping people from discussing them won't make it go away.
Who on earth has said suicide or other difficult issues should not be DISCUSSED here or in class? Au contraire- no?
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