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Theft in school not being taken even vaguely seriously. Really annoyed. What do I do?

(68 Posts)
Tentaclesa Tue 09-Feb-16 22:05:41

Dd's school does not have lockers. They cart all of their stuff around with them in a rucksack.

Dd has to walk 1/2 mile into town from school to get the bus, so I like her to wear a coat to do this, as the weather is awful. I caved at Christmas and bought her a nice, £70 fleece lined coat instead of the tatty old thing that she loathed. It therefore does not fit in her rucksack, as that is stuffed with 8 lessons' worth of books.

It was named, and no different to the ones that the other children were wearing, but is branded. It "went missing" in 2 days (she was rushed at the end of a lesson, forgot it, and by the end of the next period it had vanished). School refused to let me or dd search lost property, but the search that the school conducted said it was not there. I went back on three occasions to ask them to look again, but nothing ever showed up. School did not bat an eyelid and said that it had probably been stolen. She then had to go a month without a coat in pouring rain while I saved up to replace it. This one has lasted a week. It is a different coat, and was named more conspicuously. It was also in very "girly" colours, so as to make it a) more conspicuous to dd, and b) to only appeal to 50% of the school population. She left it in a classroom to go and sign in to form, and by the time she had signed in it had gone. School again are totally blasé and taking no action re. letting dd email round to see if anyone has seen it, or to try and find out what has happened to it.

I am utterly, utterly furious. Dd is hysterical and feels like she has let me down terribly.

School acted entirely the same way about the theft of a phone from another pupil during a form registration, taken from the pupil's blazer pocket by another member of the form. Dd says that it is happening all the time.

I want to storm into the deputy head's office, but need real-life perspective on this first.

Leslieknope45 Tue 09-Feb-16 22:07:48

I feel sorry for you but your dd should take better care of her belongings and not leave them to get lost.

Tentaclesa Tue 09-Feb-16 22:12:17

I know that she should, she knows that she should, but that doesn't make theft right. She is Yr 7, she has SEN, she is still transitioning. I'm not saying that they HAVE been stolen, but they aren't in lost property, which is the only sensible place for non-stolen things to be. If the pupils know that school won't take action that isn't that sending out the wrong message and telling the kids that if something is in a classroom that they can just take it?

UmbongoUnchained Tue 09-Feb-16 22:16:03

But what do you expect school to do? Search every pupils house?
This is just what happens when you leave things lying around. She needs to take better care of her stuff.

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Feb-16 22:18:00

Expensive items should not be brought into school, or left unattended.

My school specifically says that it will not investigate theft. We haven't the resources.

Leslieknope45 Tue 09-Feb-16 22:18:41

I didn't know she is yr 7 or that she has SEN. I would expect most year 7s by now to know to keep track of their belongings but I see from that info that your daughter finds it hard.
What can you do that means if you get a new coat she won't leave it in a room?
Are you sure these things are stolen or that school believe them to have been stolen? Sometimes at work students leave belongings in my room. I might keep them there until the end of the day and then take them to lost property. I suppose then they could get stolen from lost property, I'm not sure how often that happens but it would be hard to police I suppose. I'm not sure how staff can stop that happening.
Did the coat have a name in by the way? Must be very frustrating for you.

Have you phoned school this time?

MooPointCowsOpinion Tue 09-Feb-16 22:18:48

If it is a big school, there's a chance there are a few lost property stations. She should ask her teachers if they have it, sometimes absent-mindedness comes with the territory of being an overworked teacher, and someone may have popped it in a cupboard or staff room for safe keeping.

When things go missing in a school it is almost impossible to track down a culprit. It's a nightmare. They should be more sympathetic though, and show willing to help. It's not hard to send an all-staff email!

Tentaclesa Tue 09-Feb-16 22:19:22

I would like school to at least let her email the class that went in after her to see if anyone had seen it, but she was hauled in to her head of year for doing so. I seem to have suddenly moved into some weird morally different universe where people steal things instead of handing them in to lost property!

Leslieknope45 Tue 09-Feb-16 22:22:19

Well it's not morally right is it. But it might not have been stolen- it could be in another teacher's room/ cupboard. Is she certain where she left it?
Are students generally allowed to email other classes?

Tentaclesa Tue 09-Feb-16 22:23:34

Sorry, that was a message to Umbongo and it came across a bit strong. I'm over-tired, it has taken a ridiculous amount of time to save up for all the uniform as I'm on my own, and I now have a hysterical, over-wrought 11 year old who thinks that the whole world is out to steal everything. I was so proud to be able to give her the same coat as everyone else, and she feels like she has let me down terribly.

School have a very strong anti-theft policy on paper, but it is the fact that no-one will even talk to me about this that is annoying me. I cannot get past the lady on reception, and dd's sensible approach was met with a reprimand. I just feel fobbed off.

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Feb-16 22:23:48

She wouldn't be allowed to use school email to do that in my school.

Why doesn't she just go to the classroom and ask the teacher if they've seen it?

It's more likely to be stuffed in a cupboard somewhere than actually stolen. Secondary kids rarely wear coats.

Leslieknope45 Tue 09-Feb-16 22:25:30

Can you get the email address of a form tutor?
Has she asked the staff member of the classroom?

Tentaclesa Tue 09-Feb-16 22:31:11

She has told her form tutor, and her head of year. I don't think that she has contacted the teacher of the actual lesson, that is very sensible. I didn't think that there were cupboards in the individual classrooms (it must have been a long time since I was at school, and I don't know how the email policies work as we didn't have the internet then either!).

Thank you all for your help, I feel like I have a much more sensible plan than me going in and getting upset. A cup of tea and a penguin bar and everything will be ok! (And hopefully, as you were saying that no children wear coats to secondary noble giraffe, no other kids would have touched it with a bargepole anyway!)

Thank you all!

HarrietSchulenberg Tue 09-Feb-16 22:34:35

Discouraging as this sounds, it is impossible for a school to locate stolen property especially coats. If someone is a determined thief they will go to great lengths to hide something until they can safely smuggle it out of school in a PE bag or similar.
It is not possible or practical to search bags before the end of the day.
That said, school needs to take a more proactive approach to this. Our school regularly sends emails to all staff during the day asking them to look out for PE kits, phones, scarves etc (in fact it's a pita to find your inbox filled with messages about missing "green bag with red trims", "Nokia phones", "silver rings" etc, but it does work and most stuff turns up. If nothing else it makes staff vigilant about what might be left behind in their classrooms to avoid having an email about it 3 hours later. It's often the case that the item is not where the child thinks they left it. I spent ages with an SEN boy last week, looking for his PE kit that he was adamant he'd left in our room at break, only for it to turn up in one of the Food rooms which was where he'd left it after baking some garish cake after the first lesson.
If my child was losing coats that were not turning up, ie being stolen, I would either buy a thinner coat or a bigger bag and drilling them to make sure they always put it in there when not wearing it. Which, I grant you, is easier said than done.

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Feb-16 22:38:41

I found a coat shoved behind my filing cabinet today. God knows how long it had been there. Unnamed, so I doubt it will be reunited with its owner.

Kids aren't allowed to send mass emails at my school, only a handful of recipients or they'd misuse it. We're also not allowed to email around about missing stuff because the email storage space would be instantly full. Emails to all-staff have to be approved!

Tentaclesa Tue 09-Feb-16 22:42:40

Thank you Harriet. They are a really lovely school, I think I just need to get over my "little precious" walking into town and getting wet and cold. I'm sure I did it many a time as a teen and I'm still alive! We had lockers at school, so it was much easier to keep track of everything; the "no locker" thing is a whole new ball game, especially when your child has SEN!!

tigermoth Tue 09-Feb-16 22:43:15

Agree with that - a thinner coat or bigger bag so she can carry her coat round with her more easily. I think that's important.

With spring approaching it will be easier for her to have a less bulky coat.

I do sympathise about the coat losses. It must be very frustrating.

Tentaclesa Tue 09-Feb-16 22:46:16

And thank you noble giraffe. I must sound like such a loon! I know that it would be impossible to keep track of all the belongings of all the children, but all the other children all seem so capable that I didn't imagine that many of them misplaced things! Dd (although seriously improving!) is still very much dolly daydream, and the secondary setting of having to rush out of classrooms, and run from one side of the school to the other, is causing mass fall-out. She's learning quickly though ;-).

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 09-Feb-16 22:46:51

In assembly this week we had 12 P.E bags, only 4 of which had names (which were called out), 6 pairs of trainers/football boots (various colours and seriously pricey), 15 coats.

Today I fished out 3 jumpers from behind a radiator, two were left on the floor, picked two P.E kits that has been abandoned on the playground.

At the end of the day they have all gone done to lost and found.

If they are named they will get given back to their owners tomorrow, but I suspect that we will get the usual raft of emails stating that X, Y and Z children have lost their black P.E bag.

Tentaclesa Tue 09-Feb-16 22:49:28

Boney, you have just made me grin. Maybe it isn't my rubbishy parenting in not preparing her enough for The Harsh Reality Of Being In Secondary. Other people's children leave things behind too! Thank heavens!!

steppemum Tue 09-Feb-16 22:50:39

I really sympathise op. Ds left his pe kit on the train at the end of last term.

It had his brand new running shoes in it, that I had just bought him, the cheapest ones he can wear cost £40, plus the cost of pe kit £30.

5 minute lack of attention, he realised as soon as the train drew out, and £70 bill.

Bolognese Tue 09-Feb-16 22:52:07

I think this is a ridiculous response from the school. If the school says we dont have the resources to investigate theft, IMHO that's bull, they are part of the problem and are condoning theft. I would be telling the school that if they cant even check if its in lost property or in a teachers cupboard then I will have to speak to the police, complain to the board of governors, speak to my MP, possibly even a national newspaper, name them on the internet/social media and contact ofstead.

Seriously what does it teach children if they are allowed to get away with theft. You cant just leave this.

FYI you can buy a small GPS tracker for £4, secretly sew it into the lining of any new coat and next time it goes missing and school blows you off, go straight to the police. Boom, problem solved.

amarmai Tue 09-Feb-16 22:57:43

any teacher [who is retiring ] will tell you there is at least one confirmed thief and several opportunistic thieves in each class. They are spotted as soon as they enter school and they do not give up their thievery as it benefits them in more than materialistic ways.As this continues for as long as they can , look after your stuff.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 09-Feb-16 22:58:25


I'm hoping that your post is sarcastic.

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Feb-16 22:59:03

If the school says we dont have the resources to investigate theft, IMHO that's bull, they are part of the problem and are condoning theft

Er, it's not bull. What do you expect to happen? Teachers to be pulled out of teaching lessons to do fingertip searches and patdowns? We don't have the resources to investigate theft, which is why kids bring expensive stuff in at their own risk.

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