When finals wrapped up at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs last week, Brittni Darras handed each of her students a handwritten letter. They contained messages like, "I hope you know how special you are to me" and "You inspire me to be a better person." It was a sweet gesture inspired by a tragic event. Two months ago, a parent explained to Darras why her daughter had been absent from class for weeks. "Her daughter—a friendly, intelligent, beautiful, driven, young woman—not only planned to commit suicide, but was in the act of doing so when the police ... broke in, and stopped her. She had deleted her social media accounts and left goodbye letters; she was ready to leave the world," Darras writes in a Facebook post, per the Telegraph. "Feeling helpless, I asked if I could write my student a letter to be delivered to her at the hospital."
When the letter had been delivered, the girl's mom told Darras that her daughter had been surprised by the kind things her teacher wrote about her, believing no one would miss her if she died. "It just made me realize that something needs to be done to make these kids realize that they're special," Darras tells KOAA. She spent the next two months writing a note to each of her 130 students. "I was just first of all surprised by how much she wrote," says a student whom Darras described as "the student I brag about to all of my friends." "Usually when people write letters, it's like one or two sentences ... It was just incredible." Darras' Facebook post has now been shared more than 173,000 times, with commenters offering Darras their own words of praise. (These students wrote "heartbreaking" letters to their teacher.)