This is an e-mail we received from a teacher yesterday. There are so many issues that can be unpicked from this shocking story – bullying, mental health in young people, school safety, teacher training, emergency procedures – not the least of which is that teaching is never just the process of getting young people to pass exams. Never.
I remember reading in The Little Book of Bereavement about the stone and thanks to you it has helped a little girl in my class this week. Wednesday in one of my lessons a very quiet solemn little girl was not engaged and seemed ‘somewhere else’. She was doing something under the desk – head down – something wrong. Went over to her and the girls on the table were giggling – asked her to (what I thought was a mobile phone and she might have been texting) put whatever she had on the desk. She looked up at me and said ‘Sorry miss – I don’t know what else to do’ ! A razor appeared on the desk covered in blood – she had slit her wrist under the desk, blood running down her hand she nearly passed out (as did I) – girls started screaming class was in chaos I held her other hand, almost having to carrying her out I did an emergency call to reception. She was bleeding everywhere down her hand, wrist etc had nothing to wrap around her wrist so I had to press my hand on her wrist to try and stop the bleed. My block is in a remote part of the school so ambulance took a while. I visited her in hospital Thursday night and last and took with me a very smooth shiny sandstone pebble which I’d had for me. She cried lots and I gave her hugs (know I’m not supposed to but she needed them). Her mum has been on the phone and said she hasn’t let the pebble go and keeps rubbing it – feels nice, feels warm she told me and mum. She lost a lot of blood but she is doing ok. All because the ‘bully’ girls on her table had been saying to her ‘C U Next Tuesday’ for 3 days and that was their phrase for calling her a ‘C*NT’. I could go on – but I just wanted to say thank you because remembering how the pebble helped in a different way for you and the girls in the book I wanted to share how it has helped someone else. Been an upsetting week but so glad she is getting better and having some help.
Thank you, on behalf of young people everywhere, to all those teachers like this one who know just how important their role is and who perform it so well every day of their lives.