The Burial Ceremony
The assembly at Frederick Douglass High School in Southwest Atlanta featured a casket and eulogy and gospel choir- but no body. Instead, students folded up personal essays they had written that morning and put them in the casket one by one. On each piece of paper was written the pain they wished to bury. Mental health in American schools is considered secondary to the educational mission in the best of circumstances. Often it is eschewed altogether, leaving adolescents to navigate an inherently difficult phase of their lives without the tools, support or coping mechanisms to deal with the severe traumas many of them have experienced. The Burial Ceremony was created with that in mind, as a way to help the students of Frederick Douglass High address their hardships, grieve, and go back to class.