Country Hungary
Date/Duration February-June 2017
Main subject Class
Age-range of students  Aged 13-15 years old
Situation/setting of the school Small public primary school in the countryside
Theme/short description + how it is related to DoE There was a serious conflict within the class, as one of the students was stealing from her classmates. Unfortunately the girl was expelled from the school, but through the Postbox technique, the class has managed to express their emotions, forgive the girl and come together stronger than before.
Description of the case study One of the teachers taking part in the Hungarian piloting process was a deputy classmaster of the 7th grade of a primary school at a small countryside town. She has been working with them for one year, and according to her, it was not always very easy with them. This showed in one quite serious incident: the pupils realized, that someone was stealing from them.

Emotions were high during this time, there was a lot of tension among the students, as they started to feel unsafe in the class. There was an investigation, and it turned out, that one of their classmates – a girl – was the one stealing. Finally the police was also called in, and unfortunately the incident resulted in the girl being expelled from the school. Before she left the school, the classmaster had a discussion with her, and encouraged her to discuss the situation with her classmates. The girl chose not to do so – it is of course understandable, that it is an extremely difficult situation for her. But this way the tension remained, and there was no way for a peaceful resolution.

The classmaster and the deputy classmaster finally asked the class to use the Postbox. (They have been practicing with it for a month by that time.) The teachers asked the pupils to write messages to the girl, expressing their emotions to her.  The pupils did so, and later also sent their messages to the girl via Facebook. Here are the messages:

  • “I am not angry at you.”
  • “I think if you told us earlier, it would have been better, more honest.”
  • “I forgive you.”
  • “I am not angry at you anymore. I suggest you to stop stealing.”
  • “I am not angry at you, as I am not you, and you are not me.”
  • “You haven”t stolen from me (that much), but it’s still disgusting.”
  • “I am not angry at you, but find an other school.”
  • “I am not angry at you anymore, but don’t do this again.’
  • “We try to forget what has happenned, you shoudl try it too, and focus on your further studies. We are not angry at you.”
  • “Ask for forgiveness from everybody and stop stealing! I am not angry at you anymore.”
  • “I am not angry at you anymore. Even though what you did was bad, but still forgivable.”
  • “I am not angry at you, as you are human as well. Everybody makes mistakes, but we have to face them. The consequences are always straightforward, but the life is not easy.”

The girl has seen them, and one hour later she replied with “I am sorry”.

Through the help of the Postbox, the pupils had already used to write messages about their emotions, so the teachers could use their experience for resolving this particular conflict within the class. In this way the girl also got to see that the overwhelming majority of the class is not angry at her, which could ease her tension and guilt, and finally she could say sorry, which was an important step towards dealing with the situation.

According to the deputy classmaster, since then one could feel that the class is much more closer together than before, they can and do share their emotions more easily, more calm, and in general, more accepting.