Late last night, I received the following e-mail to my school account:
Subject: period 4 math questions
Hello Mr. _ _ _ _ _ _ ..... please fuck me in the ass and cum in it. Breeding is fun.
Cyberbullying of teachers, especially on a gay theme, is not unusual. Teachers have been victimized the world over with their pictures photoshopped and widely distributed and fake profiles set up on various gay sites.
- I don't like the idea of naked imagines on my my school e-mail account. If I had SENT such pictures from my school e-mail, I would face severe consequences from my employer and from the provincial body regulating teachers.
- I was concerned and annoyed that students would be so lacking in judgement as to send such an inappropriate e-mail to a professional in his work environment. Did they really think that I wouldn't report it?
- I wondered how "out" I really am at school. Did the student who sent this really think that I am still in the closet?
I wouldn't want them to think that was afraid to report this for fear of outing myself.
I came out to many close colleagues three years ago and from what I've heard since, I think every teacher in my school now knows as well as colleagues from other schools in our division.
- I've never openly discussed my gayness with students but frankly, it should be obvious to all but the most clueless among them just from my voice alone. I'm also very "gay-supportive" in my comments in class! As well, many, many students saw me when I attended our Pride events last June.
- I wouldn't want these obscene, gay e-mails to become a regular occurrence.
- My last thought: if they are sending such e-mails to someone in a position of relative power, they might also be sending similar ones to some little gay kids who who don't have the resources or confidence to combat cyberbullying. Ignoring it just sends out the message that this behaviour is acceptable.
Recently, a student from my school tea-bagged a drunk student from a rival school at a party. Other students posted the picture of the drunk young man with balls hanging in his face. Eventually, school authorities and the police found out and the consequences were severe!
To start, I forwarded the e-mail to our teachers' union president for advice; a fantastic, dynamic younger man who is highly supportive of me and my gayness.
I'll hear from him in a few hours but I'm sure he will tell me to report it to my principal. My principal is a .... how to put this tactfully.... a useless tit .... a wet dishrag..... so I don't expect too much effective action. But at this stage, it would be extremely unwise for me to go over his head and report this to the Superintendent.
I would like our division network administrators to be informed so they could examine the e-mail more closely, although I doubt they can track its sender. I assume that the police would have more resources to deal with this but one e-mail does not constitute cyberbullying, I think.