No, it’s not about testing–although certainly I wish it would stop.
It’s much more important. It’s The Semicolon Project.
I heard about The Semicolon Project just last night. Today was the day to mark yourself with a semicolon in order to support those that might be suffering from anxiety, depressions, harming themselves, or contemplating suicide. This is a quote from the website:
The Semicolon Project is for everyone who self-harms, is suicidal, depressed, has anxiety, is unhappy, going through a broken heart, or just lost a loved one,
Draw a semicolon on your wrist.
A Semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. That author is you and the sentence is your life.
I took this to my 7th graders today. First, I asked them to write about what they know about issues people suffer from like anxiety, depression, and suicide. I told them just to write a sentence or two, but many wrote quite a bit more. Here are some excerpts from their comments:
My friend started cutting over everything in her life. I wanted to help her. She stopped because she is with someone now, but when they stop I’m afraid it may happen again.
I think suicide is a very serious thing because people are put on this earth for a reason. Someone might not like themselves but another person might like them.
I am aware of people feeling like there is no reason to live. I am always feeling like that cause of people spreading rumors about me. But I don’t think people should feel like they should commit suicide, even if they are depressed. And I used to have a friend that cut himself and I tried to help him out cause I didn’t want him to get hurt real bad and die.
It’s sad when people have been acting depressed and sad. I have felt this way when my dog died from something she couldn’t help. I get depressed when I’m home alone for hours, and I have no one to talk to or anything to talk to. I wish it would stop.
I then showed them the video that is on the site. They sat in rapt attention. Afterward, I invited them to draw a semicolon on their wrist if they so desired, and to make a statement on why they decided to do it. I would say more than half the students participated in this part, even helping each other draw beautiful semicolon designs and “wrist bumping” each other.
It was a quietly moving experience. I hope that I remember to include this in my lesson next year.
Here are some of the statements the students wrote after drawing their semicolon:
I’m doing the semicolon because I want to support this program. I never know who will commit suicide.
This will help me help people around the world.
Why? Because it has happened to a lot of people in my family, and because of my great grandma.
I put a semicolon on my wrist so it’ll represent depressed people.
It did it because I want to help other people.
Not much else to say after that.
Special thanks to Samantha Jeter for bringing this project to my attention just in time!