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Whole class being punished for theft!

(34 Posts)
puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Fri 28-Nov-14 21:23:00

DD told me today that her entire class was punished for one child stealing purses. The class didn't get their play time session where they get free choice over what they do. They just had to sit there.

Bags, coats and drawers were searched. DD is 6.

AIBU to think that the whole class shouldn't be punished for the actions of one person? Also, surely the bag inspections etc. would have cleared up the problem?

makeitabetterplace Fri 28-Nov-14 21:32:51

Yes it is dramatic but what you don't see if the MASSIVE DRAMA that parents make over theft in a classroom. I've had parents actually call the police over the theft of swap cards. I was never really sure they'd been stolen as they could have just as easily been lost and child didn't want to admit he'd just lost them.

It is really stressful dealing with parents coming in at the end and start if the day demanding that you magically do something to resolve a 'theft' in the classroom. Presumably the teacher was hoping someone would own up before they had to resort to bag searches. Bag searches are horrible because then you get all the other parents coming in to complain about that.

Best thing to do, in my own experience, is have a jolly good idea of who did it, if anyone, and search their bag first.

AgentZigzag Fri 28-Nov-14 21:39:03

There must have been a reason why they involved the rest of the class, surely? confused

I can only think maybe something like 'they' knew who was doing it and didn't say or stole something themselves (all of them!?)

Have you only heard what your DD's said about it though? You'd have thought the teacher would have made it clear why they were sitting there.

minecraftismysaviour Fri 28-Nov-14 21:48:55

contain... sift... release. The other children should get an apology but how else do you do it with kids swanning about?sit still makes it serious and puts off other opportunists. she won't be scarred.

AgentZigzag Fri 28-Nov-14 21:52:25

I've re-read the OP and I thought they knew who'd stolen it, but they were made to sit there because they don't know?

Hmm, that is a bit 1980s isn't it?

They're trying to out the thief with peer pressure, I don't think that's fair really, it's up to the adults to sort it not 6 YO children!

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Fri 28-Nov-14 21:57:06

I thought it would have made more sense to let the children go and do their play thing whilst they searched the bags.

I think its a shame the whole class have been punished for one childs actions.

I have only heard my DD's side, yes.

claraschu Fri 28-Nov-14 21:59:48

I hate whole class punishments. They are lazy and unfair and breed bad feeling.

Sn00p4d Fri 28-Nov-14 21:59:59

It's done because it works. At least anywhere I've worked. As mentioned by PP, parents go absolutely bananas when their children are having things stolen, only have to look at the other posts on here to see that.
Bag searches, again in my experience, are not allowed, you have to rely on the child being guilted into a confession or outed by their peers. It's not acceptable to just guess who the thief is, and it often is the children you would least expect.
Missing a free play session won't kill them but should be enough to deter any further thefts, withdrawal of privileges is standard.

Galaxymum Fri 28-Nov-14 22:02:48

My whole year was hauled in to be lectured by the police whilst I was at the Grammar School. A few girls had been stealing make up at Boots. We had to fill in anonymous questionnaires on whether we had stolen anything from shops, our friends and family.

The answers were shocking to be honest and the whole experience was humiliating - at 13. As we had to answer yes or no, the police read out the numbers of yes. It made everyone feel very suspicious.
I think it is appalling to punish everyone when it is innocent till proven guilty.

DD's PE kit went missing at school last half term. It is very annoying when your child is accused of losing when it could have been taken though. Again, I think schools jump to conclusions sometimes. Easier to punish than investigate.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Fri 28-Nov-14 22:10:12

I thought that Clara.

AgentZigzag Fri 28-Nov-14 22:16:11

And what happens when the whole class turns on whoever's taken it and then bullies them until they don't want to go to school?

Because that's what the school's encouraging, the children to take this on themselves before maybe dealing out their own form of justice as well?

Some children nick stuff, no need to write off the rest of their lives for one small indiscretion.

At 6 they're not going to have a high level of sophistication in their deviousness, the truth will out given a little time.

Unexpected Fri 28-Nov-14 22:44:45

Why do 6 year old children even have purses at school? What is that all about? Why would they need money? And after all that, did they find the purses?

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Fri 28-Nov-14 22:44:52

I agree entirely Agent All seems very poorly thought out. I am going to speak to a mum who's son is in the class tomorrow and see what her son has told her.

Do you think I should speak to the school?

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Fri 28-Nov-14 22:45:50

Well quite Un! I have no idea why they would have purses. My DD doesn't have a purse. She didn't say if they had found them. I asked her if she knew who took it and she said no.

Unexpected Fri 28-Nov-14 22:47:52

I think I would try to get the story corroborated by another rparent before going into school. It all sounds a bit unlikely.

manicinsomniac Fri 28-Nov-14 22:49:58

I was going to agree with you but having read the OP this sounds more like the investigation than the punishment. I am sure that, if and when they find out who took it, there will be an individual punishment for the child.
I don't know if it was the best way to investigate but I think it was an understandable, simple and probably effective way.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 28-Nov-14 22:51:29

I would go mental if a teacher had done this to one of my children because the exercise was pointless.

The reason for a whole group punishment works for the armed services its a perfect punishment.
Those dc in the class weren't going to necessarily know who did it and are hardly going to make the culprits life miserable at 6 years old.

What was the teacher going to do when they found the bloody purse, show it to the class and say x sitting there is a thief.

Surely , nobody could be this stupid.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Fri 28-Nov-14 22:54:13

It was a punishment though manic, they missed out on their play time. DD said that the other classes got theirs, but her class didn't because of the stolen purses. That to me is a punishment.

Also, I think it wrong that the children where aware of the searches conducted.

Hulababy Fri 28-Nov-14 23:05:57

The children HAVE to be told if their bags are gong to be looked at. Infact. many schools would ask the children to be present and even to ask the children to check their bags in front of a teacher. It can't be done secretly. This then stops parents, and children, complaining about teachers going through bags unsupervised, someone saying it was "plated" - and yes, even at 6y some parents will still accuse the teacher of this.

I agree that children shouldn't have purses at school at this age, and def not have money in them. If she do, then they should be handed in properly, by the parent to a teacher.

I assume this is "golden time" they missed, rather than outside play. It sounds like it from the op - choosing time. I may have read wrong, but it does sound different to break time. And actually at many schools "golden time" is an earned reward or privledge rather than a right to all - so they may well cover why they missed it. Not all schools even have golden time. Mind, the teacher would have been better asking the children to do a specific task, if so, rather than just sitting there - thats a waste of everyone's time.

I don't really like group punishments and they are not advised or recommended, the opposite infact. But it can be a very difficult position when you have a child claiming something has happened and no one admits it, especially when you know the parents will want answers immediately too.

makeitabetterplace Fri 28-Nov-14 23:06:26

I think you just need to wind your neck in. If you gather an army of complainers and march in to see the head you're making it even more difficult for teachers to do their job, which is teach.

If they did bag searches you'd get parents marching in to complain about privacy invasion (yes, really) if you did nothing you get parents going to the police (yes, really) so your only option is to hope someone owns up. A teacher wouldn't then stand the child on a platform and pelt them with fruit. Chances are that if there was a theft it can be very quickly dealt with - item returned, apology made, move on.

If you complain then you're basically saying teachers can't keep a class in to try and find out in a relatively painless way who did it. So what options do teachers have? I'd suggest that dumb parents who send their children in with nickable stuff that they shouldn't bring into school have no right at all to complain if it goes missing. It wastes SO MUCH teacher time chasing up, for example, lost property that has no name in it, pencil cases that have 'been stolen' that have actually been mislaid by a child etc. yes, this is normal teacher stuff and we don't mind doing it generally but please understand that having parents breathing fire down your neck every time you do anything to try to help just makes the rift between teachers and parents wider when in fact teachers are generally caring for your children to a very high standard at great personal expense usually.

Your child will not have been irrevocably harmed by missing one break time. It's a life lesson that when one person messes up their whole community suffers. That's life and it sucks but there isn't an easy or fair way around this.

Please at least think carefully before going in to complain - is this battle really worth it?

AgentZigzag Fri 28-Nov-14 23:13:25

At 6 though Hula?

At DDs primary school the teacher is dipping in and out of their bags every day, putting in info sheets, changing books, looking at homework etc. They're open for anyone to root around in.

I can't imagine 6 YOs would have anything they want to keep secret/private from any adults around.

minecraftismysaviour Fri 28-Nov-14 23:15:29

Well said make there is no other way of calm investigation. she was not punished if she wasn't ranted at and accused. she was merely part of elimination.

makeitabetterplace Fri 28-Nov-14 23:16:19

There's a big difference between popping a book into a child's bag and actively searching through it. I don't think there's anything wrong but parents have been known to properly lose it over this issue. It makes me so sad that some parents just love to 'get one over' on a teacher or assume that a teacher has some kind of evil ulterior motive but the fact is that they sometimes do. This is why we can't just search through bags looking for stolen stuff. And I wouldn't be at all surprised is a parent accused a teacher of deliberately planting a stolen item in their child's bag because 'you've always had it in for x.'

NetballHoop Fri 28-Nov-14 23:22:26

I don't think blanket punishments ever work. They lessen the punishment for the guilty party and turn everyone else against the school.

On a tangent, why the hell do parents send primary school children to school with valuables? We had an incident with a child who had two Pokémon cards "worth" £50 each taken when he was 7.

Cathycat Fri 28-Nov-14 23:30:21

Surely they investigated it at break time rather than wasting precious lesson time! Which of course is sensible. Otherwise the complaint would be "My daughter's class missed a Literacy lesson because of a theft".

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