As an exercise in creative writing, it was about as tasteless as it's possible to be.
A 'confused' teacher asked his 13-and-14-year-old pupils to pretend they were about to end their lives – and to pen suicide notes about the 'disgust' they felt about themselves.
Not surprisingly, parents hit the roof when they found out and now the male teacher has been suspended while his bosses decide what action to take.
The man taught French at the Antoine-Delafont school in Montmoreau-Saint-Cybard, near Angouleme, France.
After asking them to imagine they were about to commit suicide, he allegedly added: "In a final surge you decide to put in words the reason behind your decision. In the style of a self-portrait, you describe the disgust you have for yourself. Your text will retrace certain events in your life at the origin of these feelings."
Jean-Marie Renault, the school head, confirmed that the teacher had now been 'officially notified' of his suspension, following complaints from parents.
"It was suggested that a student was on the point of putting an end to his life and describing it," said Mr Renault. "This appears quite disturbing."
He said the teacher had confessed to feeling 'confused' when he set the writing exercise, and later regretted it.
Mr Renault added that the teacher was a 'decent person' who was popular with staff and students.
But one unnamed parent said: "We are appalled that subjects like this can be offered to children between 13 and 14 years of age."
More on Parentdish: School apologises: Pupil wrote 'suicide note' for homework