Two days after the death of Cody Thomas, Staples High School students recalled him as one of the most caring and committed teachers they’d ever had.
The roots of that concern are evident in an article Thomas — who began his career as a journalist — wrote for CT Mirror in December 2014, after his 1st year in the classroom.
Describing teenagers, Thomas said:
Kids are amazing — way more incredible than most adults. The students I teach are wonderful, brilliant, and creative. If they don’t always act that way, it’s because of some undefined deadening effect caused by school.
I hope to always be able to work against the negative and to restore hope in our school systems. Can a naïve, young teacher change the life of one student? Probably not, but he or she can hope.
On my first day of teaching, I went over classroom procedures and emphasized the fact that I expected students at 16 to be mature most of the time. “Most of the time,” was key to my rhetoric.
“I’m 24,” I told them. “I’m not mature all of the time.”
Despite an entire world of influences pulling me in different directions, I wanted my classroom to be a place for taking risks. Treat kids like adults, and more often than not they will act like adults.
An email from superintendent of schools Elliott Landon to parents earlier today said that Thomas’ death has been declared a suicide.
(Click here for the full CT Mirror story by Cody Thomas.)