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PLEASE SPONSOR
Michael Fuchigami
Amount Raised
$3,765.22
Fundraising Goal $10,000.00

Message to Supporters

My name is Michael Fuchigami.

I used to teach Grade 8 in Ottawa. One day, the Grade 8 students at my school were called down to the auditorium after announcements to watch a school play. Over 300 students and teachers sat down to watch older students put on a dramatic performance about bullying. 

Throughout the play, the main character gets bullied. He solves his problem by coming into the school and shooting everybody. No violence or props are shown. Instead you get to hear monologues from the people at the school shooting. 

One student has survivor's grief and wishes they had treated the bullied kid differently. Another student points out how useless his teacher was in a time of crisis. A third student points out that, just for a second, they get it - this was a win for the nerds. This was the only way to get back at the bullies. One student talks about how the main character should have just sucked it up and dealt with it instead of shooting everybody.

The play ends and the final monologue is given by the main character about why he committed mass murder at school. He apologizes to his mom that he couldn't be stronger and that she couldn't help him. He tells the bullies that he understands their message to him that he doesn't fit in. And now, he hopes that they hear his message.

And, that's that. The play ends with a blood red spotlight on the dark protagonist of the play. Fade to black. Students and teachers are dismissed and sent back to class.

As a result of watching this school play, my mental health deteriorated and I became suicidal and depressed. 

A few weeks after watching this play with my students, I was extremely paranoid, anxious and depressed. I was no longer fit to teach and I chose to go on a medical leave of absence. By the end of the year, I would resign from the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and leave the teaching profession entirely.

To my knowledge, the parents of the grade 8 students who watched the school play that traumatized me were never informed about the suicide ideation their children were exposed to. The onus was left on 13 year old students to advocate for their own needs. At-risk students had to navigate the play’s meaning on their own without adult support. This isn’t right. 

Schools send home letters if someone in the class has head lice. Yet, in this case, even though the school board was aware that an audience member (me) was traumatized by the disturbing content of the play, to my knowledge, the principal and the board still didn't notify parents or guardians. 

If your 13 year old daughter or son watched a play in class about a school shooting, would you want to be informed so that you could choose how to support your child?

I would. 

In less than a month, I went from perfectly fine to a mental health crisis. But, I didn't suffer in silence - I sought out help. 

I've gone to the emergency room twice because of my suicide ideation. I've chatted with some lovely psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, in addition to family and friends to get through some dark thoughts. It's a slow path to bouncing back and I take things one moment at a time.

Even though it's a bumpy road, I can see now that life is slowly getting better.  

So, what do I do now that I’m not a classroom teacher?

I work to make the world a better place. I do this by helping others achieve their goals and stand up for themselves and for others. Oh, I also design teaching resources and do digital marketing. 

I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed by what happened to me. But, that’s just it - we don’t talk about mental health like we do physical health.  

But, we need to get louder about mental health. We need to model for students how to take care of our mental health and how to get help instead of suffering in silence.  

I am dedicating 10% of my income for the rest of my life to help support student mental health. 

Half of the money will be donated to Kids Help Phone so that students who need help can continue to have someone to speak to, 24/7. That’s huge because you can’t always tell just by looking at a student how they’re doing on the inside. 

The other half of the money will be donated to Do It For Daron. The Richardsons had the courage to share their private tragedy to encourage an open dialogue about youth mental health. We already know teens can die by suicide without any warning or indicators. We don’t need schools to be places of misinformation that perpetuate the sensational idea that extreme bullying leads to extreme violence. We already have Netflix 13 Reasons Why for that.

Why did I choose Kids Help Phone?

Because kids and teens across Canada can speak with a trained adult at any time for help. 

Because night time is the worst time to be alone with your thoughts. The caring adults in your life are asleep.

Because I like the idea that a kid in need can call for help whether it's with a little problem or a big one. 

Thank you for supporting student and youth mental health. Please share my story.

More information can be found at https://MichaelFuchigami.ca 

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Supporters (0)

Mike Fuchigami left a message
Oct 13, 2021 1:10 PM
Just donated $216.42 for Sep 2021
Mike left a message
Sep 1, 2021 12:28 PM
Just donated 10% of earnings from Nov 1, 2020 to Aug 31, 2021
Mike left a message
Nov 19, 2020 2:36 PM
10% of earnings from Jan 1, 2020 to Oct 31, 2020