Thursday, 21 February 2008


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.


mandy lifeboats appeal said...

Hi D

I fully appreciate what you said about what happened after the meeting. How you kinda fell apart a bit.

I do a good line in crisis coping and then have the breakdown. Not that I am necessarily doing it so well at the moment..I have gone straight to breakdown mode...but I understand anyway...but you done good.

Dare I say...that I kinda feel sorry for the student. Not that what they did was right...but they sound like they are going through some issues of their own. No excuse to do what they did and having issues does not automatically make people empathetic to others. I have met people with mental illness who are racist, bigotted and extremely horrid in their views. I put that down to bitterness. But mental illness, in itself, does not justify crappy attitudes.

What I do think is that young people seem to be 'highly stressed'. That could be a blinkered view on my part but they are being driven by education targets (adults targets), the media and alot of rubbish on foul shoot em up games and constant advertising to be sleeker and cleaner and wider and brighter. If they ever manage to find themselves in all that they are better humans than I will ever be.

But back to the individual...Fact that their mother was saying that she was doing certain things is a plus (although you never know what goes on behind closed doors) and perhaps a bit of food for thought will sink in but don't count on it. As a teenager I was anti establishment as an adult I am even more so.

The fact you held your own ground is what counts most of all.

And getting to a point, if you can, where you can let this go now would be even better, for you.

Hope your weekend is a restful one for you.


Disillusioned said...

Hi Mandy

not sure about this particular student having issues. I think he may just be a typically selfish teenager whose main preoccupation is with what he wants to do and his rights. But my opinion may well be jaded and biased just about now. And indeed I may be intolerant and vindictive. But no, I don't feel sorry for the student - though I am glad that, alongside the consequences, he will be getting support. Fact is I provided a huge amount of support to this student while I was his tutor and teacher. It has been thrown back in my face.

Am sure the mother is following through. Same mother pulled younger son off the French trip the day before it left after he stole money. Strong messages, strong parents. it comes to a point where the children themselves are making the wrong choices and need to be made to face that.

Letting it go? Not even close right now. But thanks - working towards it.

mandy lifeboats appeal said...

Hi D

In no way were my comments written to aggrevate you. If that is the case, I apologise.

Maybe I make excuses for people. I don't know...I just know there are bigger pictures than I will ever know and I don't condone the student's ignorance and spite. I just have to wonder at why they did it? I won't ever know the reasons for that either. Is like playing cluedo with most of the bits missing.

I don't expect you to be able to just let go either. Is something I try and practise and often I get lost in things (too much) espesh when emotions are involved.

Like today, I decided I am not going to see Dad for a week. He is not really up to seeing me and vice versa. What point do 2 negatives make? Not much. And the space will maybe help me review things...let him be, let me be and maybe...I can let go of things for a while.

Here's hoping eh?

Take good care of yourself there.

Disillusioned said...

Hi Mandy

Not aggravated by you. Just struggling with all this - struggling to balance my tendency to blame myself for all this. After all, it must be my fault, mustn't it?

To be honest, am low tonight and anything and everything is difficult. Have noticed all I really want to do at the moment is sleep. That's not like me.

mandy lifeboats appeal said...

Hi D

Wanted to respond to this last night but got totally sidetracked.

Wanted to say that I didn't take into consideration the other problems/nightmares you were dealing with. Sometimes, I am looking at bigger pictures and missing what is actually going on. Maybe I should work for the Trust eh?

Hope your weekend is easy on you.

I have made 4 new cards. Am on whacky themes at the moment. Diversifying (which seems flavours of the biscuits today :>)

I started copying ideas from others but am off on a tangent now. Doing my own thing. It is maybe a bit rad for craft fairs but my friends (the poor souls who will be getting these cards) will hopefully see it as 'Mand doing what she does'.

Had intended to venture to town, on my own today, but got up late as stayed up until Daughter came home from night out. Then had to drop half a loz to sleep.

So am a bit groggy so will leave venturing until Monday.

I have a box full of magazines a friend sent me. I want to do some collages and also want to do some synchronised rolling about on the peanut ball to disco classics.

Have you anything therapeutic you can build into your weekend? That yoga sounds good and the offer of use of my peanut ball still stands.

Bye for now


Disillusioned said...

Hi Mandy

Thanks for the suggestion about doing something nurturing this weekend - it's a good reminder. I'll follow your example and do some card making this afternoon, I think.

You're right, too; this incident was just one among many this week.