When does taking something by mistake become theft?

(73 Posts)
Mumto1plus2 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:48:39

My son's lunchbag went missing last week and still hasn't been returned. It's not in lost property and the teacher says she's looked for it to no avail. What conclusion can I draw other than someone else has taken it? It's been 5 days now. It has his name on it and an unusual bottle and lunchbox inside so difficult to confuse with another once opened. I've asked the PTA to send out an email but what more can I do? I am so cross. It's one thing for school clothes to get mixed up but this is the last straw. Of course, you can see the teacher's eyes roll as soon as you mention something like this... (sigh) hmm The thought that someone has kept it when they know it's not theirs really bothers me.

Spero Tue 30-Apr-13 17:14:47

But your assumption is it was STOLEN. I think that is what people are having a hard time understanding. It's a manky, smelly lunchbox. Wo would steal it?

I think Savoy cabbage is right on the money here.

I completely agree you mustn't minimise the concept of theft to children - but not is it stellar parenting to get so het up about something relatively trivial and teach your children that any time something goes missing some horrid little thief must have stolen it.

lborolass Tue 30-Apr-13 17:24:06

I'd be annoyed in the same situation and tbh I'm pretty sure most of the parents I know at school would be too. I don't know anyone who just shrugs when their stuff goes missing, at my DCs school there's no kind of formal email system and the PTA certainly wouldn't be involved but it's not unknown for a note to go in book bags about lost items.

OP - if you're still reading I'd suggest looking in the classroom yourself if possible, with the best will in the world the teachers have too much to do to expect them to look as hard as you would do. I bet you get it back.

LtEveDallas Tue 30-Apr-13 17:53:12

Is that to me Spero? Sorry, I had gone off on my own tangent I think. I definately know that DDs stuff was stolen. There is no other answer. Not lost, not taken by mistake, stolen.

In the OPs case, maybe she too is certain that the lunchbox was stolen. Ok, maybe not if it is one of 30x 1D or Moshi lunchboxes, but if it was a 'one of a kind' or specific type then it would be hard to miss if your child bought it home.

I do understand people saying that the OPs property could have been misplaced in school though, but she seems quite certain in her belief, so I can understand how she feels. It's a month since dd had her stuff nicked, and I'm still pissed off about it - and so is DD, even to the point of not having a birthday party this year because of it sad

wickeddevil Tue 30-Apr-13 18:01:50

Love csi PTA

RooneyMara Tue 30-Apr-13 18:03:17

LOL! Exit, you poor thing. Cloths are always handy though I suppose....

sunshinenanny Tue 30-Apr-13 18:14:33

This is a bit silly, and you don't know it's been stolenhmm children, especially young children mislay thing's all the time.

Just get another 9not so precious one and tell your child to take better care of itsmile

Above all calm down! it's only a lunchbox.

sunshinenanny Tue 30-Apr-13 18:15:53

sorry! Don't know how that 9 got in theregrin

Spero Tue 30-Apr-13 18:53:32

If you are sure something has been stolen then absolutely it must be taken seriously. If it was a valuable item i would expect the school to take it seriously or even the police. In my sixth form one girl was stealing stuff from the others at the behest of her much older drug addict boyfriend. The police came and interviewed some of us. He ended up stealing her parents car.

Of course children (and parents) have to respect each others property.

But this is about a lunchbox and I assume very young children. This is bonkers.

LtEveDallas Tue 30-Apr-13 19:08:03

DD is only 8 and the monetary value of her stuff was less than £30, but this was after 3 years of minor petty 'misplacements' - daps, jumpers, pt shirts etc. Whats to say that the other stuff that went missing wasn't just the start of what NOW becomes theft?

That's why I would take this seriously, and expect the school to as well. It may be ONLY a lunchbox now, and may be ONLY Reception kids. But if they aren't taught now, where does it end?

Sorry, this is obviously a soapbox of mine, but I am pissed off about it and maybe overthinking things. It has changed my view of DDs school and her teacher, who up to last month I thought was the dogs.

Spero Tue 30-Apr-13 19:19:14

It's horrible for your daughter to be so upset it spoils her birthday and I think you should definitely be n at the school to handle this better.

But I think ops situation is totally different. I think its sad that she wants to think of a missing lunch box in terms of a criminal offence - sad for what it says about her view of her school community.

Of course she may be right and it is a Fagin finishing school, but personally I wouldn't want to draw that conclusion on such slender evidence.

LtEveDallas Tue 30-Apr-13 19:45:47

I hear you Spero. I think I'm just projecting sad and angry. Cheers.

Spero Tue 30-Apr-13 19:51:18

No crime in projecting. Or if there is I am looking at 20 to life.

Maybe there is similar backstory for op which would explain why she is so upset.

I hope the school pulls its collective fingers out and does better for your girl.

LtEveDallas Tue 30-Apr-13 20:46:56

Thanks Spero, thankfully we only have another year at this school before we move. Ridiculous that I am thinking like that, but <<shrugs>>. Tomorrows another day and all that smile

bbcessex Sat 04-May-13 08:25:05

Things do get stolen at school.

Something low value but sentimental was stolen out of my daughters book bag.. the school were great in looking for it, but in the end the head actually admitted that there were certain children who were '.light fingered' and there was little they could do about it.

coppertop Sat 04-May-13 08:42:16

It is irritating. My ds had something go missing at school. Several weeks later he saw another child with a similar one and commented that he used to have one like that.

My chin hit the floor when the child said "It is yours. It's got your name on it." The other mother said they'd brought it with them to give it back to ds - even though it was a complete fluke that we'd bumped into each other in the first place. hmm

I don't think it's all that strange to send out an e-mail. I had a phone call after school one day to say that they thought dd had picked up the wrong lunchbox. An identical one had gone missing a few minutes before and dd's named one was still on the trolley.

notfluffy Sat 04-May-13 09:03:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flojobunny Sat 04-May-13 09:14:12

I don't think anyone has been unpleasant to the OP, just not agreed with her.
I can only assume OP has had lots of items go missing and this is the final straw?
If you haven't already lost 4 jumpers, 2 books bag, 7 water bottles and 1 PE shoe then OP you need to rein it in and save all that energy for something more useful.

quietlysuggests Sat 04-May-13 09:59:48

I think threads like this are so interesting because it reminds me how different we all are.
If my child's lunch box was missing, I would think "Oh well" and no more.
If my child came home with someone else's lunch box I would think "Must send that back in", and I would, but I might forget for a week or two.
Because I would think "No-one gets worked up about such a small thing"

And yet clearly some people really do get worked up over small things.
Interesting.

Spero Sat 04-May-13 13:32:26

Well to be fair, there could be a massive back story of constant pilfering of jumpers etc...

But if there isn't then yes, I agree it is interesting why some people get so worked up so quickly by relatively trivial matters.

LtEveDallas Sun 05-May-13 05:48:11

If my child came home with someone else's lunch box I would think "Must send that back in", and I would, but I might forget for a week or two

Now I find that interesting. If DD bought something home that wasn't hers, no matter what it was, I would take it back the very next day. I really cannot understand why you wouldn't? Or how you would 'forget' that you had something that didn't belong to you?

I wouldn't do it in a shop, I wouldn't do it to a friend, so I certainly wouldn't do it to a child - who might be getting a pure bollocking at home for 'losing' something yet again. My conscience would give me a right kicking.

Spero Sun 05-May-13 09:13:24

As cabbage said there could be explanation in that child went off with non resident parent who just left it in back of car and didn't realise...

What is interesting here is the very quick assumption that it is theft which is a crime of dishonesty with all that implies for your future employability etc. that really baffles me.

LtEveDallas Sun 05-May-13 15:09:05

To be fair, what quietlysuggests said had nothing to do with RPs/NRPs - I've just said I find what she said 'interesting' - as there is no way I would keep hold of something that didn't belong to me/my child "for a couple of weeks". There is no excuse for that, not if you know you have it.

quietlysuggests Sun 05-May-13 20:17:52

I'm basing that on my only experience of having other people's pens and pencils occasionally come home in my ds's pencil case.
I might spot them one day, forget to say it to my son until the next day, remind him to give them to whomever owns them, then I wouldn't check again maybe for weeks.
But maybe thats a smaller thing, that OP wouldn't mind.
Thats what I was comparing it to.
Anyway, I'm sure OP has gotten over this thread by now...

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