Arizona teacher forces students to write “I want to die in a fire” as punishment

TUCSON – A family claims a Tucson Unified School District teacher told his class to write, “I want to die in a fire” for punishment for misbehaving during a fire drill.

One mom is calling it a “forced suicide note,” and she’s furious.

The family said it happened at Alice Vail Middle School, near Craycroft and 16th street.

Sarah Morales said she and her classmates not only had to write that statement but put it above their heads as they walked around school.

“I just started crying,” said Morales.

She said her dignity is crushed after her teacher ordered her class to write, “I want to die in a fire” as a punishment for misbehaving during a fire drill.

“We walked around with it above our heads and we couldn’t put it down or anything,” said Morales.

Morales said after ordering the class to walk around the school and display their signs for 10 to 15 minutes, “He made us do it again, but only for 5 minutes.”

She said he kept the same theme for their homework assignment.

“We had to write, ‘I want to die in a fire’ 100 times,” said Morales.

Her mom SallyMarie Schreiber is still in shock.

“It’s like your own child writing a suicide note, being forced to write a suicide note,” said Schreiber.

Schreiber said she can’t believe something like this could happen.

“They should have never ever been forced to write something like this,” said Schreiber.

Morales said she’s been teased before, bullied by peers, but this takes it to another level.

“The very person that she’s supposed to look up to, her teacher, it was like he was a big bully,” said Schreiber.

TUSD tells News 4 Tucson, the teacher’s actions are unacceptable.

“That is not consistent with what we want to have happen in our schools,” said Dr. Abel Morado, assistant superintendent of Secondary Leadership. “What is non-negotiable is the students’ dignity and respect.”

He said TUSD will be taking action.

Schreiber said she just hopes the action is enough to keep other kids from being subjected to humiliation.

The district tells News 4 Tucson that they gathered all the information they need to take a course of action, but they would not say what type of action due to personnel confidentiality.

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