The Unfortunate Incident of the Smoke in the Brunchtime:
I had a fairly distressing incident at school today.
Once again, it's brunch duty. I'm at my appointed post, keeping an eagle eye out over the smokey group from yesterday. Nothing seems to be going down, and I leave my post for a minute to use the facilities.
As I'm walking over there, I pass a group of kids and again- puff of smoke. I've been a teacher for three years now and NEVER seen anyone smoke. And now twice in two days. I stood in front of the group, staring in disbelief. I didn't see anything more, but I was sure that it was smoke.
A few minutes later, I walk into my 3rd period class. The students start their routine and I tell them to put everything down, turn around, and look at me. "Folks," I tell them, "I want to remind you that smoking of any substance at school is illegal and will get you expelled." Everyone stares at me, intent. "And not only is it illegal, it's also just stupid. Teachers are not dumb. We SEE the smoke rise." Everyone laughs, but I notice particular tittering around one boy, who I remember was in the group this morning from which the smoke emitted. A good, quiet boy.
"Ohhhh, you got caught", kids mutter. "Stupid", other kids say.
I return to the lesson, and slyly open my computer and shoot my principal and VP an email, telling them that I suspect this student and that he's in my class.
A few minutes later, the VP comes and takes him and his stuff away. About 1/2 hour later, he returns.
After class, he approaches me. "Ms. J", he says, clearly mad, "they told me that you think I was smoking at brunch. I cannot believe you would think that. I am really offended by your accusation."
I admit, it caught me off guard. For one, I wasn't aware they would tell him that it was ME who suspected him, and two, I was surprised at his bravery for approaching me. I told him I was sorry he was accused, but that I had reasons for my suspicions, and that it is my job to keep the campus safe, but that wasn't really enough for him. He kept saying how hurt he was, and that he couldn't believe I would accuse him. It was, to say the least, extremely uncomfortable.
My principal apologized later for telling him it was me; that is not policy, and it accidentally slipped. She felt bad about it, and I felt bad that he was so hurt.
Where to from here? Do I apologize again? Let it go? See what he says tomorrow? I don't want him to hold a grudge, only because I fear how it will effect his attitude, and performance, in my class. At the same time, I'm not going to grovel to a 13-year old who was falsely accused, but for what I believed at the time was good reason. Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?