The ex-pupil who sent me yesterday's email came into his old school today to apologise to me. We met with the deputy head teacher and his mother.
He began with an apology, but also with an attempt to evade his responsibility for his actions. He claimed it "just happened", that he "didn't know" why he did it. I pointed out that he had made a choice to log on to his old school email account, made the choice of sending me an email, said that he had chosen to type the words he had, said that he had made the decision to sign the email with another pupil's name. I pointed out that he had chosen a subject line which made it more likely that I would read his email.
I told him that his saying sorry didn't make it OK. that I wouldn't tell him it was OK, because it wasn't. I told him something of what it is like to have depression. I told him how at times I have not wanted to live any more, and I told him that I have carried on working while I was really ill.
I explained to him how I felt doubly hurt by his actions because I believed we had a relationship based on mutual respect. I reminded him that I had encouraged his interest in ICT and had helped him to develop his skills (often in my own time).
His Mum was fantastic - very down the line with him. She told him that she was ashamed of him. She apologised to me, saying that she felt it was her fault - and I told her it was her son's decision to do what he did. She said he has lost the use of his computer, lost internet access at home, as a result of what he did. I suggested he should do some reading around depression and what it was like and his mum said he would do this.
The deputy head then contacted the school this pupil now attends, with which we have close lins. They have been fantastic. He has apparently been causing concern recently anyway, and had been internally excluded yesterday for other actions. He has now been excluded from school for 5 days. When he returns he will have a mentor and extra guidance. The school are also going to give him some materials on depression (which I will supply) and he will have to write a personal response to them. The school have also removed his Internet privileges for the foreseeable future.
Then I fell apart a bit, needed time to recover. Other staff were fantastic - and have been throughout the day. I have had nothing but validation, support and sympathy. That (and the comments here, and the response from the boy's mother, my school management and his school's management, have all helped me to believe I didn't deserve to be treated like this. I still don't feel angry about this - maybe that will come - but mostly I feel confused and hurt and guilty. That needs unpacking still.
It's been hard at times today to stay grounded. Fortunately I had a gym session booked tonight; I got there early and did some cardio and weights on my own, then spent the booked time doing some Yoga. That really helped.