A Facebook “Confessions” page allowed students from the city’s top high schools to share their unfiltered thoughts: Prom dates. College admissions. Academic pressure.
For kids at the elite Bronx Science High School, a scarier topic surfaced: Suicide.
The online outlet for Bronx Science students emerged as a gathering spot for dozens of depressed and anxious teens around the time of January midterms, raising red flags among concerned administrators.
“Looking back at the 4 years I spent here, I’m filled with regret,” reads an anonymous April 2 post from one Bronx Science student.
City claims they’re handling Bronx Science ‘fight club’ mess
“People always scorn at the idea of suicide and the people who chose that path. But, sometimes, suicide is the best option.”
A second student, in a March 20 posting, mentioned the potentially lethal depression caused by bullying.
“I had a terrible day yesterday and I’m on the verge of suicide,” the student wrote. “I’m constantly ignored and outcasted, ridiculed, and laughed at.”
Bronx Science Confessions has garnered more than 6,000 “likes” since it was created in October 2013. The page is followed by more than 5,800 people and users have submitted nearly 11,700 posts.
Antidepressants doubled before Fla. girl streamed suicide online
More than two dozen posts on the page since Jan. 1 deal with depression, anxiety or loneliness — and several of the posts mention suicide.
The deluge of negative posts on the page prompted its anonymous moderator, self-identified as a Bronx Science senior, to address the issue.
“The amount of super-depressing confessions being submitted has somehow increased at an alarming rate,” the moderator wrote on Jan. 15.
“Bronx Science Confessions is not a mental support page,” the moderator added. “You need to seek out professional mental health help.”
Mich. mom says son hanged himself after girlfriend faked suicide
Assistant Principal Andrew Nasser even placed a Feb. 23 offer for psychological help on the public forum.
“If you are suffering please know there are a variety of support systems at Bronx Science,” Nasser wrote. “Please, reach out.”
Bronx Science is one of the city’s elite specialized high schools, boasting more Nobel-prize winning grads than any high school in the country.
But the school drew negative attention in November when the Daily News uncovered an underground fight club run by students and former students via Facebook.
Real life ‘Mean Girls’ account causes protests at high school
Education Department officials vowed to deploy mental health help to Bronx Science and to keep an eye on students’ online activities after learning of the fight club.
But school administrators have not specifically addressed the Confessions page since Nasser’s Feb. 23 post. Bronx Science principal Jean Donahue declined to answer questions about the page.
Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness said the school is monitoring the situation and employs a dozen full-time guidance counselors plus a substance abuse therapist.
The Bronx Science Student Organization is hosting the school’s first mental health week in May to draw attention to the issue, Holness said.
Miami teen commits suicide in two-hour long Facebook Live video
“The school takes a proactive, preventative approach,” she added.
Meanwhile, students said the ‘Confessions’ forum serves a helpful purpose in a competitive academic environment.
“There’s a lot of pressure in this school and there are things people can’t talk about with anyone,” a junior who posted on the page told The News.
“They can be anonymous here,” added the student, who asked that her name be withheld. “It sometimes helps to get it out there.”
Another teen who used the page said the spike in negative posts over the winter could be tied to academic stress.
“People want to be heard,” said the student, an 11th-grade girl who also did not want to be named. “In January, there were midterms and a lot of college decisions. It was a pretty intense time.”
- daily news exclusives
- new york public schools
Send a Letter to the Editor
- Join the Conversation: