Parents at a private New York City school are outraged that their children were assigned to write first-person suicide notes as part of an English class assignment, according to the New York Post.
Students as young as 14 were reportedly instructed to write the notes last month from the perspective of a character who kills herself in the book, "The Secret Life of Bees." According to the Post, the assignment had students "justifying why they had committed suicide."
“We were pretty stunned at the scope of the assignment,” an unnamed father of a ninth-grade student at York Prep told the Post.
“We thought this was such an outrageous assignment for a 14-year-old to get,” he said. “We pay a lot of money to send our kids to the school.”
The homework assignment reportedly asked, “How would you justify ending your life? What reasons would you give?”
Teacher Jessica Barrish did not comment to the Post, but Ronald Stewart, headmaster at the $41,000-per-year institution, said the school itself received no complaints about the assignment.
"No, not a single one," Stewart told the newspaper.
"The Secret Life of Bees" is a best-selling novel set in the South during 1964. It was adapted into a film starring Queen Latifah and Dakota Fanning in 2011.