22 Teachers Talk About The Brutal, Unexpected Deaths Of Their Students

These heartbreaking stories from Ask Reddit will make you want to squeeze your loved ones a little tighter.
student at bus stop
Unsplash / Edwin Andrade

1. A student was raped and murdered during a jog

“A student of ours was raped and murdered while jogging alone, she was 15/16. It was a very dark time and it was made worse by the media constantly going on and on about it, especially since the court case went on for a year. The kids have dealt with it well though, considering.” — gintypuff

2. A boy was hit by a car while crossing the street

“During my first year teaching, a very well-liked 8th grader was hit by a car while running across the road foolishly, and died almost instantly. Teachers had to read a statement to their homeroom classes the next day at school. It was a terrible day, with students crying all day, and counselors were called from all over the county to see grieving students. There were vigils, fund raisers, and prayer circles for about a month after, but children are resilient and pretty much forgot about it shortly after. There was a tribute to him in the yearbook.” — whatsername__

3. A student killed themselves after being put on hold on a suicide hotline

“The school district had set up a suicide hotline. The first year it was implemented, it wasn’t that affective. There was student really distraught and stressed and considered suicide. He called the hotline and was put on hold for almost 10 minutes. He killed himself.

It was shocking because no one expected that and he showed no signs during school. Some people knew that his parents were hard on him but no one thought it would go to that.

The school fixed the hotline.” — MarchKick

4. He was murdered by his own mother

“One of my students was murdered by his mother. I taught 8th grade at the time. The kids were shocked and saddened, but the day they found out, they organized a car wash to help the father pay for funeral expenses. I was so proud of how they turned their grief into something productive. During the car wash, they were playing the deceased student’s favorite songs and celebrating him. It brought the students closer together.” — tacothetownn

5. There was a fatal gas leak inside of his basement

“In 30 years we lost many students, most to car crashes, but also one who fell off a cliff while hiking and perhaps the most devastating to the school was one who died from a gas leak in his basement while he slept. This popular and very likeable young man was a captain of the wrestling team. He was friendly and kind to everyone. The reason he was in the basement that night was that someone arrived at the house and he had given them his bedroom.

On the other hand, the one who fell off the cliff had been a school bully. It was interesting to watch the students process this as many were secretly relieved by this death while at the same time feeling guilty for not being sad about it.” — Oregonguy1954 

6. She accidentally hung herself

“A girl accidentally hung herself while doing something acrobatic and well, since it was a catholic school we prayed a lot and the girls classmates got counseling.” — noesis_

7. A student was shot and killed by a gang

“I haven’t had a student die during the school year but one of my former students was shot and killed a year ago. He was about 16 and from the news report it seemed to be gang related. He was a quiet kid, I really never suspected he had gang ties. Unfortunately, it’s fairly common to have deaths of this nature in the district. A lot of these kids in gangs are fun to have in class. I really try to stress to them that they’re just being used by the older gang members so the kids are the ones that get killed or arrested while the shot callers get off with nothing to tie them to the crime.

I get pretty upset when people says things like, ‘We just need to execute every gang member and be done with it.’ There’s plenty of good kids in there that haven’t loss their soul yet.” — jlanger23

8. Their father murdered the entire family

“Within the district where I work, a young child was murdered when the dad of the family snapped and took out the whole family in a multiple murder-suicide. The details were horrific, and the kid was young, 6 or 7. The only communication we got from the district was not to talk to the press.” — butiamsotired

9. He jumped off of a building to his death

“A student committed suicide by jumping off the 20th floor staircase in one of the buildings. The institution then proceeded to put mental health awareness fliers around the campus, and also placed bars on the very same staircase so no one follows. However they only put up bars on that specific staircase as far as I know.” — FireDamned

10. He was killed from a stray bullet from a drug deal gone wrong

“I was a student, grade 12. One of my best friends died in his sleep. The school was pretty amazing about the whole thing. We had access to counsellors at any time of the day who were all filled in on the details. Most of us just wanted to sit around and reminisce/cry together and they let us sit in the locker bays and do just that.

Two weeks later another student died. He was killed while walking into his house by a stray bullet from a drug deal gone wrong. I didn’t know him as he was two grades below but the school handled it just as wonderfully.

One week after that the special education teacher died of a stroke.

I think after all of those events they were probably the best equipped school in the city to deal with this.” — amlybear

11. There have been multiple suicides over the years

“I’ve had three in 15 yrs. One was a teen that was killed in a single car accident. My students that were following said they could hear him screaming. It shook our community, and I really think it made fellow students think twice about reckless driving.

There have also been two suicides, which makes me kind of hate 13 Reasons Why. In response our school counselors have put up ‘stall talk’ signs for 13 reasons why to see your school counselor.

Every yearbook has been dedicated to one of them. Breaks my heart.” — born22310

12. She was murdered by her father

“A sweet little girl around the age of 7-8 was murdered by her father after he killed her and her mother, her older brother and sister managed to get away, the father also committed suicide closely after. Nobody in school knew what happened to her, but the message spread soon enough, everyone was rather upset, we made a memorial a stage because she loved acting.

Pretty fucked up shit.” — furmsdanku

13. They died during a sporting event

“We had a student die during a school sporting event. The inquests went on for years and the staff that had been there were called away to testify every time. That would bring it all to the forefront over and over. I think it probably made us more close knit as a school. The students were proud and protective of the staff involved and upset that they had to keep reliving it. The staff seemed to band together and were all genuinely friendly and supportive of each other. Sporting events required parental waivers afterwards.” — miltonwadd

14. She shot herself in the head

“One 10th grade student shot herself in the head in the bathroom during lunch break. Her brother died in a car crash the year before. It crushed everyone because almost all 900 students knew them.” — fluhx

15. He killed himself on the train tracks

“Taught high school. This student was shared between me and another teacher when he was a senior. He graduated and a couple months later killed himself on the train tracks that run through town. Unfortunately, he was one of about six students who had done it in as many years. Westboro Baptist Church protested across the street from the school after the first bunch of suicides happened. The city’s response was to place crossing guards at each crossing to help prevent people from jumping in front of an oncoming train. Little did the city know, some of the guards had criminal backgrounds and they would leave post to break into houses and cars nearby. This is an extremely affluent area (think the cheapest, shittiest 450sqft house being over a million dollars- not kidding) and people were still regularly killing themselves on the tracks.” — tea_low

16. A student was murdered a week after graduation

“No longer a teacher but still work in education. One of the schools had a student murdered about a week after graduation. School admin did everything to help parents and notify the school community as a whole. Superintendent didn’t even put our a condolences message. Funeral was surreal as it always is when a young person dies.” — FistoftheSouthStar

17. She accidentally drowned

“Last summer, a girl I knew accidentally drowned. I wasn’t friends with her or anything but we were classmates and frequently attended the same concerts. It was really weird cause nothing like that had happened in my area. All of us were in shock and it happened so suddenly. We had a memorial service for her and our entire class really came together to remember her.” — mangokatt4

18. Someone overdosed and someone else had alcohol poisoning

“I hate to do the thing where I wasn’t a teacher, but what happened at my high school was kind of unprecedented. This is a nice public school in a well-to-do touristy area. Over the course of my four years there, about a dozen students died of various things.

The first was a just-graduated senior who was drunk driving and wrapped his car around a tree.

Then a kid died of alcohol poisoning at a party.

Then a kid got into a car accident on the way to school.

Then a kid committed suicide.

Then a kid who was biking to school got hit by a car.

Then a kid overdosed.

Then a thirteen year-old girl was peer pressured into taking her older cool kids friends on a joy ride, got into an accident, and everyone but her died. It was awful. She got harassed and school and death threats. Her parents gave her up to the state.

Then a kid drowned.

Then another car accident. 16 is really too young to be getting a license, I think.

Anyways, I didn’t know any of these kids really well, thank goodness. But what was really weird to see was the tragedy drama. After a kid died, people that barely knew them would say they were their best friend. Their lockers would become a memorial. There would be fights in front of the locker about who the best friend was. The dead kid’s closest friends and/or girlfriends would become instantly popular.

The suicide was different. Every other death, the flag was flown at half-mast, but not for the suicide. A friend of mine got suspended for going out to half-mast it herself. Everyone avoided his girlfriend, and no one talked about his death. No grief counselors like there were for the others.

Anyway, I learned then, and later with deaths in my family, that death really brings out the worst in people. It’s really astounding to me.” — Behemothwasagoodshot 

19. Someone was stabbed during a party

“The Utah Bus crash in 2008 was mostly from my high school. I was in eighth grade at the time, but the middle school was right next to the high school and my brother and sister were in the same grade as some of the students. 9 people died. It was a VERY quiet day at school that day. The high school put up a memorial in the gym with jerseys the kids wore.

Also my junior year a senior was stabbed in the neck at a party and died.” — Alpacahooplah

20. He slipped and fell inside of the bath

“I was an assistant teacher for a while (foreign language, high school) and a freshman died in a complete freak accident. Slipped and fell in the bath and hit his head the wrong way.

I didn’t see that class very often, but my coworker said that when she did oral exams with the class (I forget the exact prompt, but they basically just had to talk for a few minutes in the foreign language), one of the students talked about the boy who passed away, and said they still missed his smile.

I just can’t imagine how the parents must have felt. It’s such an arbitrary twist of fate. How do you even react? The poor kid may as well have been hit by lightning.

A little less tragic, but at the other high school in town one kid ended up in the hospital and a bunch of others expelled because they were goofing off, throwing each other into the air or something? Or playing on a bridge? I never got all the details, since this was before I started working in that town, but I think the one kid got permanently injured. Kids can do really stupid things.” — lygerzero0zero 

21. He passed away after developing a brain tumor

“At my school, I was pretty new but before I came there was one guy in high school and he died because of a brain tumour. This was about 4 years ago but everyone remembers it. He was a book lover so in memory of him, the school put up a bench in the shape of a book with his name on it. To this day the whole school remembers him.” — blyat_master9

22. A boy drowned in his bathtub

“I’ve had two die while in my school, but not actually at school. (Middle school, 6 – 8 grade.) One girl had brain cancer. Fought it in 2nd grade, went into remission, started coming back in 6th grade, when I taught her. Sweet, studious, wanted to do her best and just be normal. She was in school most of 7th grade, but finally had to taught at home. (Still enrolled in school, but the teachers would send the work home and one teacher, assigned by the district, would go once a week to teach the concepts. Forget what it is called, often used with severe injuries.) She died in 8th grade. It had a much larger impact on the teachers than the student body because in the year she wasn’t there, most of the kids forgot about her, other than her friends.

The other death was a 7th grade boy. He drowned in his bathtub. I had the older 1/2 brother who had found him, dragged him out of the tub and tried to do CPR, even though the kid had probably been dead for 15 to 30 minutes at that time. He was not a sweet child, or even a good kid, but he wasn’t mean either. His death really hit the kids (and his teachers) hard because it was so random and sudden. A lot of questioning about mortality and a lot of fears showed up too.

Worse are the ones who died between 9 – 12 grade. 4 suicides of just the kids I’ve taught. Shooting, hanging, poison and jumping off a bridge onto the highway. The hardest one was Arpan. He jumped off a bridge after getting a low grade (probably an 80, knowing him) on a test and his girl breaking up with him. Too much stress to be the perfect son, too much attention to grades. Suicides are always hard for the students. Often times they come in waves as it becomes a viable option suddenly. “If he can do that, so can I.” Lots of questions, lots of fears show up. Also, the teachers and students watch out for each other with care… at least for a little while.

I still think about Arpan a lot. That uptight little boy who became funny and silly in my class with encouragement. Signed all the yearbooks with “I’ll always remember this year. All my love” – both girls and boys. Said it would confuse people when they were adults. Suicides are the worst.” — mel2mdl Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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