Josh Kaplowitz was an idealistic young teacher at a poor, inner-city school in Washington, DC, when it happened: He was accused of pushing a 7-year-old student so hard that the boy hit his head. The boy's mother sued for $20 million, Kaplowitz lost his job, and he changed careers to become a lawyer. Eleven years later, his accuser—now an ambitious business student in Atlanta—sent Kaplowitz an invitation to be Facebook friends. After much thought, Kaplowitz accepted. And that's when an unexpected friendship began, the Washington Post reports. "I’ve re-evaluated the past incident and I just want to say I apologize for everything that happened," the student, Raynard Ware, wrote him. But when they had lunch, Kaplowitz realized that Ware wasn't taking back his accusation. He was just sorry it happened.
Ware "admitted that this was a long time ago, but that he remembered something happening," writes Kaplowitz in the Post. Kaplowitz's version: He merely led Ware out of class after the boy badgered him with requests to go to the bathroom. But even touching a student at Emery Elementary was against school rules. "You can’t put your hands on kids in classrooms, so he was wrong," says Ware. Still, Ware forgives his ex-teacher. He also benefited from the whole mess, taking home $40,000 of a financial settlement and buying a BMW. For his part, Kaplowitz says he's let go of the 2001 incident; he also apologizes to all his former students for being a terrible teacher. And he wants to write a book with Ware about the ordeal. "If Raynard and I can become friends, maybe there is hope for everyone to bury their own respective hatchets," he writes.