School keeps taking away my daughter's shoe

(518 Posts)
Dryrobeandnoknickers Thu 23-Sep-21 17:18:50

This week my Year 7 dd's school is running some baseline tests for them and on Friday we received a message from the school to let us know about these tests and ask that they bring in some headphones.

Neither dd or I own any headphones that would work with the laptop and I completely forgot to borrow some over the weekend.

On Monday during the first test she explained to the invigilator that she didn't have any, but luckily they had spares. She was told that she could borrow them in exchange for one of her shoes so "that she didn't steal them". This happened for several of the tests so she had to sit in the hall for several hours without a shoe and feels like she was being treated like a thief, and that it was humiliating.

She has now borrowed a pair of headphones for the rest of the week from a family member but chatting with some other parents this seems like a commonly used approach at the school.

I asked the school for their side of it and have just received a response saying "in the past we have loaned headphones to students and they have forgotten to return them and this has cost the school a substantial amount of money to replace them. We feel we have taken a light-hearted approach to loaning headphones to students who have forgotten to bring their own into school."

I'm pretty annoyed about how this was handled - my daughter felt it was degrading and that it not pitched in a light-hearted way but she was treated as though she might be a thief.

If I asked a colleague at the school I work at if I could borrow a pair of headphones and they asked me to give them my shoe in exchange I'd feel pretty frustrated about being treated like that too.

AIBU and this just how things work at secondary school and I'm being too precious and naïve about how to manage these things?

I know that its not the biggest of issues in the greater scheme of things but it has really grated on me and I really want to raise it with the school. Surely they'll get more out of the kids by treating them in a respectful way (which their behaviour policy states they should) and if/when there are any issues and they don't treat the school property with respect then they should be given a consequence and the parents should pay to replace them. Why not simply count out the 10 sets of headphones at the start of the test then count them back in at the end?

AIBU to challenge them on how they do this? I'm guessing an email from me isn't likely to change things but really feel I should say my piece.

OP’s posts: |
SheABitSpicyToday Thu 23-Sep-21 17:20:45

That’s mad grin

WoozySnoozy Thu 23-Sep-21 17:24:00

Seems a good and slightly fun way to deal with it? Like if you owed a restaurant money you might leave your phone behind the bar while you go to the cash point.

Babyiskickingmyribs Thu 23-Sep-21 17:24:20

There is a famous bar in brussels that takes a shoe as a deposit for certain particularly large and expensive beer glasses - like a small yard glass shape. They string the shoes up on a rack hanging from the rafters. It’s supposed to be funny but also stop people running away with the cool beer glass or refusing to pay the fine for breaking one. I bet one of the teachers at your daughter’s school has been to this bar…

Knittedfairies Thu 23-Sep-21 17:24:31

I suspect the school have already been down the route of counting out the headphones and counting them back in again at the end of the session. Not all parents would pay for replacing the headphones either. School budgets are beyond stretched; I think using a shoe as a deposit is a light-hearted approach to the problem.

Akire Thu 23-Sep-21 17:24:31

I remember teachers doing this if they loaned out pens or calculators. It’s just way 100% making sure they get the items back or come lose loads every week. No one say it as being branded a thief just a funny shrug shoulders May fault for forgetting to bring something. Rather that than detention for not bring what she was asked too.

PieMistee Thu 23-Sep-21 17:24:31

Fuck me. That's a harsh, though probably very effective, way of getting them returned. I might do it with pens at meetings. Some bugger always runs off with mine.

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WoozySnoozy Thu 23-Sep-21 17:24:41

It makes it easier to know who has the headphones if you have their shoe. Rather than counting them all in.

listsandbudgets Thu 23-Sep-21 17:24:43

I see the schools point of view but surely it wouuld be better to take phone or school bag.

I wouldn't be too happy on safety grounds either. In the event of a fire for example your daughters foot could get stood on if people are pushing to get out

ArblemarchTFruitbat Thu 23-Sep-21 17:25:18

"in the past we have loaned headphones to students and they have forgotten to return them and this has cost the school a substantial amount of money to replace them. We feel we have taken a light-hearted approach to loaning headphones to students who have forgotten to bring their own into school.

How about they manage the issue in an adult way rather than taking this silly approach? If they must ask for something, make it a cash deposit.

Aroundtheworldin80moves Thu 23-Sep-21 17:26:49

Shoe seems a bit weird. Would make more sense to pass over a homework diary or something similar if they still have those...

coolhwip Thu 23-Sep-21 17:27:13

I think it’s fine. Not fair for tax payers to keep paying to replace stolen headphones.

Bonnieonthelam Thu 23-Sep-21 17:27:20

This is really horrible. But they gave you notice. Albeit very little notice. If this happened on day 1 by day 2 or 3 I would’ve sorted her out for some headphones. It’s not very good of the school. They should hold onto backpacks or something sensible. Kids are forgetful but the costs to replace these items comes out of a budget and I kind of understand.

impatientwatcher Thu 23-Sep-21 17:27:30

This is fairly common, not something I've ever done as I don't want kids' stinky shoes but its something that is mentioned in teacher training. Its really not a big deal, its just to stop kids walking off with the equipment. If you don't like it, make sure she doesn't have to borrow stuff again.

IvySneezes Thu 23-Sep-21 17:27:39

No it’s degrading and unhygienic. I work in secondary school. We lend out all equipment like that and if worried we simply take names of who has borrowed and then worse case scenario we would invoice a parent for a missing item.

Your DD’s school is ridiculous.

SionnachRua Thu 23-Sep-21 17:27:42

YABU, very normal thing to do in schools. I often do it myself when they borrow calculators from me. No one has forgotten to hand it back since I brought in that system!

campion Thu 23-Sep-21 17:28:19

They could have taken her planner which is what a lot of schools do.

WoozySnoozy Thu 23-Sep-21 17:29:00

Aroundtheworldin80moves

Shoe seems a bit weird. Would make more sense to pass over a homework diary or something similar if they still have those...

No one cares if they lose their homework diary

DeepaBeesKit Thu 23-Sep-21 17:29:45

I think it's a pretty light hearted solution. Depressing though it may seem, they have to have an on the spot way to prevent theft that is also accessible to all students - the student who doesnt have headphones is probably more likely to also be a student who doesnt have a cash deposit on them either. Who carries cash these days anyway?!

SionnachRua Thu 23-Sep-21 17:29:54

Aroundtheworldin80moves

Shoe seems a bit weird. Would make more sense to pass over a homework diary or something similar if they still have those...

Reason is that it's easy to walk out of the room with no homework diary. I've yet to see someone do it with no left shoe!

WutheringTights Thu 23-Sep-21 17:30:42

My previous employer would let staff borrow their big golf umbrellas if it rained. But they lost so many that they started taking our staff passes as a deposit, meaning that we couldn't get back into the building until we handed the umbrella back. I wouldn't be overly bothered by this.

Autumncoming Thu 23-Sep-21 17:31:05

What a great idea by the school!
I'm all for it.

noblegiraffe Thu 23-Sep-21 17:31:08

Students should not have cash on them to hand to teachers as a deposit and a kid is likely to forget to swap for something less urgent like a homework diary.

I’m sure I’ve read the behaviour management book this comes from and I wouldn’t personally do it but anyone who thinks ‘just count them out and back in’ has never tried to get a complete set of class equipment back from a large group.

I do know an NQT who tried it with a belligerent group who ended up having shoes thrown at her.

SinoohXaenaHide Thu 23-Sep-21 17:31:57

I think yabu. It's perfectly normal in the adult world too eg leaving your driving licence or credit card if borrowing something expensive, but kids don't have those things and a shoe is a fair swap.

FelicityBeedle Thu 23-Sep-21 17:32:09

Even if they hand in a diary, they can leave it behind the staff have to spend time chasing them up, and they could have lost the headphones by then. A shoe, you won’t leave the hall without it, it’s a bit funny and you won’t forget next time

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