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Child lost school item, school blaming me...?

190 replies

maiafawnly · 13/09/2022 17:12

Before the summer holiday, my 14 year old participated in an event for a competition where a group of student designed balloons which were sent into "space". On the balloons were recording devices logging the altitude the balloon reached and views from their balloon. The data was recorded onto a micro SD card. The data was to be analysed at the start of this term to then be submitted to the hosts of the competition.

The SD card was given to my 14 year old last day of term, and hes lost it. Micro sd cards are so small that finding it is a nigh on impossible task, and we've looked everywhere but cannot find it.

Obviously this is my childs fault, hes misplaced it, but school have called, 3 separate teachers infact have called, asking me what i intend to do about it...? What can i do? I didn't know he was being given the SD card or asked to bare any responsibility of keeping it safe for 7 weeks! And even if i had been asked, theres nothing i can do now its lost, i cant magically recreate data and images of the balloon. And tbh i think the school/teachers involved in the competition have been a bit irresponsible handing a micro sd card of data to a kid if thats the only place its stored and irretrievable if lost.

Aibu to simply ignore any further communication regarding this and have absolutely no consequences for my child at home? I dont think this is a punishable offence, my child made an accidental mistake over misplacing something he should never have been solely responsible for if it was that important?

OP posts:
womaninatightspot · 14/09/2022 07:15

FlissyPaps · 13/09/2022 17:39


I'd second checking phone cover. My 11 yo keeps important stuff in there as he would never lose his phone! I'd also check any inside pockets of bags, sd cards are so small they can vanish to the corners.

doradoo · 14/09/2022 07:25

There's no chance of a cache/autoback-up from when he looked at it on his laptop is there?

Beautiful3 · 14/09/2022 07:38

I think school should have kept it, as it was very important. However I'd help check his bag, pencil case, bedroom etc. He may have placed it inside his phone cover/blazer pocket. I bet it never left his bag.

BertieBotts · 14/09/2022 07:44

Surely it's only the card/data from his personal balloon, therefore the natural consequence of not looking after the card is that he doesn't get to enter the competition. Doesn't need any further action (but teachers should reassess the process before repeating next year!)

The other children will presumably have their own SD cards from their own balloons. It wouldn't make sense for all the data to be on one card?

BertieBotts · 14/09/2022 07:48

Oh sorry I see it was one balloon for the whole group.

WTF?! Why did they give it to one random student?

Sparklfairy · 14/09/2022 08:10

This has probably been asked but I've only read OPs updates. I just wonder what batshit planet you have to be on to give the only copy of important data to a teenager to keep over the holidays.

Why wasn't it backed up at school. Why didn't a teacher take it home (oh, because they might lose it?!). And why wasn't it just locked away at school for the holidays?

diddl · 14/09/2022 08:27

I don't think that asking a 14yr old to look after something that is important to him is that out there tbh.

If he was renowned for being careless then one of the others should have taken it.

Perhaps he could do one more check of his room or see if the data is recoverable?

fUNNYfACE36 · 14/09/2022 08:37

This wasn't a class project,It was an activity run by an extra curricular society at the school.The idea is usually that the students run the project independently with a teacher supervising light touch
Presumably this item was not forced on your son kicking and screaming? He agreed to be responsible for an item and knowing the Importance of rhe data , he should have put the effort in to keep it safe.At the very least he should meet the costs of rerunning the experiment ( i assume a new weather balloon (about £30) and an SD card and apologise profusely to the society.
Do you expect the teacher who has given his lunchtimes to run the club and put his hand in his own pocket (again, he probably paid for rhe initial kit) to pay for your son's inability to take responsibility for his own fuck ups?

Porcupineintherough · 14/09/2022 08:37

It doesn't sound like the school is blaming you, it sounds like they are desperately trying to enlist your help in finding the dam drive.

I suggest your ds do a thorough search of room, bag, pockets. Can he remember what he did with it? I dont think expecting a 14 year old to look after something important is that unusual tbh, how does he manage with his phone/wallet/bus card etc His poor team.

PinkPencilCase · 14/09/2022 08:41

I don't understand why people are saying OP should buy a new card. I doubt the school even supplied it, it would have been part of the kit provided by the engineering company.
Handing over a new, empty SD card would be like losing someone's cat and trying to make amends by buying a new cat carrier and giving them that. It doesn't make anything better.
OP, I agree you've done all you can. I would have felt awful as a teenager in your son's shoes so I hope he gets past it soon, no real harm done. Maybe he's learned to take good care of things from this.

vix3rd · 14/09/2022 08:43

I suspect they want you to replace the SD Card. Nothing to do with the data.

TooMuchToDoTooLittleInclination · 14/09/2022 08:53

maiafawnly · 13/09/2022 19:50

And in all honesty, my sons school have no chance of winning as they already know at least 3 other teams got much higher so at this point, the data isn't even important regarding the competition. They are now missing out on viewing the images and looking at the statistics and seeing exactly why their ballon failed and what they could have improved upon - which is obviously a massive shame for the students involved. But the competition was already lost as they collected their balloon much sooner than other teams.

He's 14, not 4! Plenty old enough to look after an important item. It wasn't a 'tiny' SD card until HE removed it from it's packaging & didn't take care of it. Why did he think it was ok to take it out of the packaging, put it in his computer then not look after it?

it shouldn't have been left where it could get knocked onto the floor. He was irresponsible.

I understand YOU don't feel responsible given you weren't told about it, but you need to stop blaming the school for your sons careless behaviour!!

MelodyPondsMum · 14/09/2022 08:53

I don't think they are blaming you. They're making you aware (because obviously your DS didn't make you aware when he was given the SD card so they can't rely on him to convey communication) because you might have put it in a safe place or you could help your DS to look for it.
As you said, the multiple calls were probably miscommunication internally. They weren't escalating calls. They were different departments getting confused about who was contacting you.
This isn't about you tbh. It's about your DS and his team and his school. The school messed up but your DC and all the other DCs will be very upset. I'd be contacting the school on the basis that you suggest they put different processes in place in future eg backing up data; sending a letter home with the SD card if they expect parents to keep it safe all summer.
From an IT pov, did your DS open the SD card and look at the data? Will it have automatically backed up on his devices?

KTKismet · 14/09/2022 08:53

I would be contacting the school about the third teachers comment "for his sake" - I would not permit any teacher to make threats about my child. Did you question the teacher on his phraseology at the time @maiafawnly ?

From a practical perspective, on the laptop, go to download/ recent files in your file directory, you may be lucky since you mentioned your son viewed them on his laptop that they images may still be there.

In terms of asking a teenager to keep it over the holidays, that seem lax by the school, unless it was a condition of the competition. That said, they should have downloaded and had a backup of the data before the summer.

andweallsingalong · 14/09/2022 08:59

I think I would keep looking privately, but publicly stick to how silly not to back up important data. Surely even Yr 7s should be taught this so for me it's on the teachers that they didn't tell the kids to back it up the very first time they viewed the data.

Is there any chance its still on the camera that originally recorded it? I thought OP said it was downloaded from camera to SD.

MelodyPondsMum · 14/09/2022 09:03

The teacher wasn't threatening the DC ffs. They were making the point that the DC is upset and that all his team will be too, and some of that team will be blaming him for taking the card and losing it.
Since it was an external company running the competition and not the school, it makes slightly more sense why the school didn't take the card tbh. These competitions are about the DCs taking responsibility.
Our DC took part in a similar competition and none of the teachers backed up their information, presentations or designs for them. The DCs were responsible for saving it to a shared drive so they could all access and work on it together.

TooMuchToDoTooLittleInclination · 14/09/2022 09:03

Sparklfairy · 14/09/2022 08:10

This has probably been asked but I've only read OPs updates. I just wonder what batshit planet you have to be on to give the only copy of important data to a teenager to keep over the holidays.

Why wasn't it backed up at school. Why didn't a teacher take it home (oh, because they might lose it?!). And why wasn't it just locked away at school for the holidays?


Because it wasn't a school activity!! It was run by a company nationwide.

The teenagers were given their groups SD card & information in a plastic wallet to look after, the kid chose to take the SD card out of the wallet & not look after it!!

YesitsBess · 14/09/2022 09:04

@maiafawnly Sorry if this has been suggested already but a stocking secured with an elastic band over the end of the hoover hose is a very good way of finding small items that (hopefully!) have fallen out of sight behind a desk or under furniture.

You never know!

maiafawnly · 14/09/2022 09:15

I never said my son was blameless. Ive told him he should have been more careful and made sure it was somewhere safe over the summer. But he feels terrible and is upset, i dont think further punishment such as docking his pocket money to supply a blank SD card is necessary. Hes apologised to everyone involved. Hes not usually irresponsible they were just excited to see the pictures taken from the balloon and see how high up it went so he and his friends had a look.

I also thing placing the blame solely on him is unfair. The card should have remained at school or backed up prior to him being given it. He cant back it up on the school cloud from home, but a teacher perhaps could have and it would have been avoided. But not once have i said my son is blameless, and i really do feel for him and the team, but the situation could have been avoided had an adult thought about backing it up before handing it to a child. And i also dont think its something i can resolve, ive looked, his room isnt very big it didnt take long, but its no where to be found, i don't understand what the school expect me to be able to do.

OP posts:
LookItsMeAgain · 14/09/2022 09:18

I'd suggest that you help your son out by getting a replacement SD card and suggest to the school that the re-run the competition (as the weather conditions will be different) and that the TEACHERS look after collecting and keeping the SD cards, not the pupils.

diddl · 14/09/2022 09:20

The card should have remained at school or backed up prior to him being given it

But I thought that it wasn't a school activity as such?

TonTonMacoute · 14/09/2022 09:21

It sounds to me like teachers have messed up and are trying to shove the blame on you.

Either they should have taken all the SD cards, or they should have given the students clear instructions on how to look at and back up their data during the holidays.

Complain to the head.


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maiafawnly · 14/09/2022 09:21

diddl · 14/09/2022 09:20

The card should have remained at school or backed up prior to him being given it

But I thought that it wasn't a school activity as such?

It was sponsored by an external company but ran by teachers within the school

OP posts:
TokyoTen · 14/09/2022 09:21

I'd honestly be talking a bit sharply to whoever phones next and say:
You're sorry but you weren't aware of it
You and he have looked extensively but cannot find it.
As this was an important school project he should not have been given sole charge of it and if it was important then they should have backed up the data up before it left school premises (life lesson there for them)
I'd end with saying that he's very upset and has apologised and you'd like to know why exactly he and you have been put in this position rather than a teacher holding on to it.

I'd definitely start to push back quite strongly. Because in my experience several teachers want to raise problems, but they not so good at resolutions.

MelodyPondsMum · 14/09/2022 09:28

Have you checked his laptop to see if it automatically saved a backup or if the data is in his downloads file as we have suggested?
Teacher involvement is usually tightly managed if it's for an external competition. As a PP said, perhaps it was a requirement of the competition that the DCs look after and manage the data.
It's just a shame that your DC didn't share any of this information with you OP. I feel really bad for him.

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