I took a deep breath and asked my son if this was true. He said in a defensive tone, “yes, I want to kill myself’. But after speaking with him for just a few seconds I could tell by his behavior that this wasn’t the whole story and that there was more going on with him.
As I listened to him, I could tell that what he said was said out of frustration, fear of getting in trouble and maybe embarrassment. I wasn’t sure what actions the school wanted to take, especially after reading in the news about a school that had a child taken to a psych ward for a 72 hour hold for writing the same thing. Unfortunately, these type of procedures aren’t outlined in the school manual, so I kept talking to my son, showing the teacher who was quietly watching the whole thing, that I had this under control.
When I was done, I asked her what she needed to do on her end. She said that she was letting me handle it since the incident just occurred and because she didn’t see it herself. She also said that seeing what he was going through emotionally, proved that he had suffered enough and she didn’t feel it was necessary to punish him.
Once we left the office, my son explained that he had been at his desk all day without a recess (it was minimum day) and that he didn’t eat his lunch and was feeling like he had to let his anger out, feeling frustrated because he couldn’t hold it together at school. I think it was just an impulsive moment where he had to let it out, even if it meant breaking the rules and saying that he wanted to kill himself, it was just a way to express the frustration he was feeling.
By the way, he showed me how high he was when he jumped and it wasn’t anything to be concerned about.
I’m so thankful that our school kept a level head over the incident and allowed me to make a judgement call as to what was going on with my son. By the time we were home my son was doing great and happy the whole incident was over.
Can you imagine the damage that could’ve been done had the school stepped in and had my son taken for a 72 hour hold? That’s why it’s so important for the school to work with the parents, we know our kids so well that even the tone of their voice signals to us what may be going on inside.
If you haven’t been in this situation, you may want to talk with your school about this before you’re pulled into the office. A lot of kids with mood disorders say things that they don’t mean, but at the same time, we need to be aware of any threats. I wish I had addressed this sooner, but I’m so thankful that everything went as it should.