Monday, January 3, 2011

Kleptomania At School [Nonfiction]

I have a story that actually happened this week to a beloved teacher at my learning establishment. It deals with theft, which I'm sure happens quite often at school as well as in the real world, but this is the first time it has hit so close to home, err, school.

I'm sitting in second period as usual reading a fantastic book by Ben Mezrich about the founding of Facebook, The Accidental Billionaires. It is very eye opening in that I never expected something as renowned as Facebook to have come from such a mess of roots. But all things have their low points I suppose. Getting on with the story, I'm sitting in the back office of a classroom reading because I'm in "Accounting 2"--I say this because I'm technically enrolled, but I don't do any accounting at all, I'm more of a teacher's aide. A student comes into the office asking if he can borrow a flash drive from the teacher so he can put something on it for Hallmark (he is a self-proclaimed poet) and I assume he's going to send some of his work to them.

She tells him the flash drive is in the drawer of her desk--the one in her classroom and not the one she is currently occupying in her office--so he leaves and I assume he goes to retrieve it. I think nothing of this and get back to reading about the "socially autistic" Mark in my book.

The next day, I come into second period and hear the teacher talking to another student about her iPhone being stolen. I'm in the back office while she's talking to the student in the classroom and I move closer to hear the conversation. I'm shocked the learn the details about her precious iPhone (which she's had for only a few months) was stolen; however, she got it a much worse condition.

She began to tell me all the details: she had put her iPhone in the drawer of her desk in the classroom for the first time because her husband was on the road and if he broke down, needed help, et cetera, she wanted him to be able to reach her. Said flash drive from two paragraphs ago was in the same drawer with her phone. So you can only imagine the thoughts going through that kid's head when he saw a shiny, new iPhone ripe for the taking.

The teacher didn't check the drawer until two periods later to find out her phone was missing. After a moment of disgust and anger, she knew exactly who had taken it. She made her way to the office, where she found no administrators (I mean of course, right) so she proceeded to the school resource officer's room. After much deliberation and a name misinterpretation, the phone was seized and the student was apprehended.

The teacher was beyond pissed. She came back to her room after being reunited with her beloved iPhone and began to realize that all of her information was gone. The phone was barren: her contacts had been erased, her email accounts had been deleted, her case that was installed was removed, her SIM card had been discarded, her photos, music, and all media were gone. G-O-N-E, gone.

A group of students in her classroom overheard her plight and said that the student involved was notorious for stealing things, especially cell phones at school. If there was a cell phone to be had, there was a cell phone to be missing. The students also gave her some unsettling news: the student had been showing off the phone all throughout the day, and they knew exactly where he had discarded the case and SIM card.

She went on a hunt for the missing items that could be replaced and found them exactly where the group of students said the items would be. Everything on the SIM card had been erased and the coup de grĂ¢ce was that the card was broken in half. The SIM card was taped back together and put back into the phone, but it still wouldn't work. She had never backed up her phone via iTunes, so she lost EVERYTHING.

All of her contacts were officially gone and she didn't know how they would all be replaced. Malice probably couldn't even describe how she felt at this point, but it's the only word that comes to mind.

After being searched, the officer found more phones on his person, which were taken and bagged. The student was suspended for only five days and the teacher said she wanted him out of her class.

It has been two days now, and nothing has changed. She hasn't gotten her contacts back or even a new SIM card, but the only thing she can do is move on, much like any person would do in a tragedy. Even though this was just a phone, it was her source of communication and it shows just how much we rely on our phones now. Maybe it means we shouldn't put all of our faith in them, because things can obviously happen, or maybe it means we should just be more careful, but with any situation there's always a lesson to be learned or a point to be made.

Maybe something good can come out of something bad.


  1. The picture is funny, but what happened sucks. She must feel violated, like being robbed at home. That you can't feel like you're safe at school, you have to lock your things up, and she fell for this kid's scam must make her feel worse. Innocence lost.


  2. Yeah, it happened in my high school and it's very sad how desperate students (and kids in general) are becoming with electronics.