It’s A Con Text, Part 2

, , , , , | Learning | February 4, 2019

(I am the OP of this story. When the teacher who so poorly handled the “cyberbullying” incident returns from his suspension, he seems to have finally gotten his head on straight. [Problem Girl] is still making up her usual attention-seeking stories, but what happened between us seems to have finally caused the majority of the staff to catch on and stop babying her. A couple of weeks after the teacher returns, things begin to go missing from the changing rooms. They are never things you’d expect to have stolen; money and electronics are always left untouched. It is never anything valuable, but generally pretty stupid things like a singular shoe, an empty pencil case, etc. Heck, one time it’s a school bag — just the school bag. Everything inside it is dumped onto the floor. Almost immediately, people jump onto the idea that [Problem Girl] is the thief as she often leaves conveniently in the middle of PE to go to the toilet. However, that theory is quickly shot down as items keep going missing on days where she isn’t even in. Eventually, it becomes constant enough that everyone becomes sick of it. We turn to one of our PE teachers for help, who immediately stations guards in the changing rooms. These “guards” are just students who aren’t able to participate in the lesson for whatever reason. Instead of coming outside and acting as referee, they are allowed to sit inside and revise whilst making sure nothing gets stolen. The thefts stop… until a few months later when our PE teacher goes on maternity leave. The other teachers quickly scrap the little system and the thefts start up again like clockwork. Seeing no way out of it, a small group of us head up to the office to report the situation. We walk in, finally hoping that the thief will be stopped for good, only to see the one teacher none of us wanted to talk to: [Problem Teacher].)

Student #1: “I know they’re just little things going missing, but none of us can afford to keep replacing them each week. I’ve had my pencil case stolen twice in a month, and [My Name] has had to get food off of us every day for a week because they take the majority of what she’s packed!”

(The school uses something called a FOB for students to pay for lunches in the canteen — it’s like a school credit card. It was introduced after people kept having their lunch money stolen. My mum never put money on mine as I preferred packed lunches, and I eventually lost it, so I couldn’t buy food when my lunch got taken.)

 

Problem Teacher: *not looking up from what he was typing* “Stop bringing packed lunches in, then. Problem solved.”

Student #1: “But what about the rest of us?”

Problem Teacher: “Have they stolen money or anything valuable?”

Student #2: “No, but—“

Problem Teacher: “Then what’s the issue? Come back when something of value goes missing.”

Student #2: *angrily* “Are you kidding me?! They threw the contents of my backpack across the changing room and stole the bag! Just the bag! Those are expensive! They’ve stolen [Student #1]’s left shoe twice, and she had to put up with shoes two sizes too small all day because there weren’t any spares in her size! How is this not an issue?!”

Problem Teacher: *glances up and glares at [Student #2]* “Stop making such a fuss over nothing. Raise your voice at me again, and I’ll give all three of you detention. Now, get out and go bother someone else.”

(Seeing we won’t get anywhere with this guy, we turn and leave the office, ranting about it to each other as we leave. Things continue to get stolen, each theft getting more and more irritating, until finally…)

Student #3: *rummaging through her bag* “Hey… Has anyone seen my purse? I can’t find it.”

Student #1: “Do you think it was stolen? What does it look like?”

Student #3: “It’s blue, shaped like a cat, and has my name written on the ear.” *starts looking around on the floor*

(The majority of us join in the search and come up with nothing. Since the disappearance of the purse means that [Student #3]’s bus pass, fob, and about £10 in cash have gone missing, as well, we finally have what we need to force the teachers to do something. We go back to [Problem Teacher] and confront him with the new issue.)

Problem Teacher: *with an irritated sigh* “All right, ladies, calm yourselves. You think it was definitely stolen; you didn’t misplace it anywhere?”

Student #3: *upset and near tears* “[Student #4] and [Student #1] helped me search my bag, [My Name] went and asked all my teachers if I had left it in a classroom, and the others searched the changing rooms. We couldn’t find it. I can’t get home without it!”

Problem Teacher: “Did everyone join in the search?”

Me: “No, [Student In A Wheelchair] and [Problem Girl] didn’t.”

Problem Teacher: *nods and waves us out of the office* “I’ll talk to your class about it later, then. Now shoo. I have things to do.”

(We leave, now hopeful that things will stop vanishing. School ends and I’m about to leave, when [Student In A Wheelchair] comes up to me in tears.)

Student In A Wheelchair: “[My Name], have you seen [Student #3]?”

Me: *concerned about how distraught she looks* “Not since we went to [Problem Teacher]. Why? What’s wrong? Has someone been picking on you again?”

Student In A Wheelchair: “N-no. [Problem Teacher] pulled me out of French to accuse me of stealing from [Student #3]. He said that I must be a thief because I didn’t help search for the purse and wouldn’t let me explain why I didn’t look! He said he was going to get the police involved if I didn’t give it back!”

Me: *surprised* “But you can’t fit your wheelchair between the benches! Besides, [Problem Girl] didn’t search, either! Did he at least accuse her, too?”

Student In A Wheelchair: *shakes her head* “He said he knew she wouldn’t have done such a thing, so it had to have been me.”

Me: *furious* “Is he kidding me?! [Problem Girl] is just as capable of doing this as we are! He should know that by now!”

(After calming down, she went to meet her parents in the car-park and I headed home where I told my mother everything. She was furious that [Problem Teacher] was still blatantly defending [Problem Girl] and sent me to call my grandmother, again, who decided she was going to step in this time. She took me into school the next morning, in her uniform, where we bumped into [Student #3] and [Student In A Wheelchair] heading to the office with [Student In A Wheelchair]’s parents. [Student In A Wheelchair] took one look at my grandmother and started crying again. My grandmother quickly realised why she was crying and assured her that she wasn’t there to arrest her. [Student #3] and I ended up missing what happened during the confrontation, as the bell rang before we reached the office, but we later learned what happened from [Student In A Wheelchair]. When [Problem Teacher] saw my grandmother in her uniform, he assumed that [Student #3] had called her down over the missing purse and proceeded to loudly and smugly tell [Student In A Wheelchair] that she should have just admitted that she was “a dirty little thief” sooner so all of this could have been avoided. Upon hearing this, her parents lost it and the head teacher was eventually dragged down to get involved. After hearing the full story, [Problem Teacher] was finally fired and a full investigation into all of the stolen items was launched. [Student In A Wheelchair] got a full apology from the head teacher, as did her parents, and my grandmother was thanked for attempting to defuse the situation before [Problem Teacher] really did call the police. And for all of those wondering, the thief was eventually caught. It wasn’t [Problem Girl], as some people had still suspected, but another girl who no one ever really spoke to. She would sneak back to the changing rooms while everyone was outside and take random items for the fun of it. She never sold anything, just took them home and hid them in her room, so we got back the majority of what was stolen after she was caught.)

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