Laptop Claptrap

, , , , | Learning | May 19, 2021

I was born deaf and have been nonspeaking my whole life. I was diagnosed with severe dyspraxia at four, which has affected my coordination and balance, and with autism at eight.

I have a classroom assistant who helps me communicate with my teacher and the other kids, and because I find writing so tiring and stressful, the school gives me a laptop to use. The laptop doesn’t belong to me and has my name on it along with a label saying, “Property of [School]”.

Sadly, there are some girls who feel it’s unfair that I have been given a laptop and they haven’t.

One afternoon, we’re all going to a hockey match to support our school. I walk to my locker with my classroom assistant and stow my laptop safely. After the match, I open my locker to remove my laptop… and it’s gone! I’m really upset and crying, and my poor classroom assistant can do nothing to cheer me up.

We go to the principal to explain. The next day, during assembly:

Principal: “I will allow the perpetrator to return the laptop to me, without punishment, by the end of school.”

The following day, no laptop. Two days go by, and still no laptop. I am suffering physically and mentally because of the stress. During the next assembly:

Principal: “I will be conducting locker searches if the laptop is not returned by the end of the day.”

Then, one of the teachers comes forward.

Teacher: “I saw a girl from [My Name]’s year giving something rectangular and thin to a boy at the bus stop.”

The girl in question was interviewed but denies it, even though three other girls admitted seeing her do it. I was losing all hope of ever being able to do schoolwork again, as the school wouldn’t replace the laptop until they were certain it wouldn’t be returned.

Then, the principal got a call from the father of a boy who went to one of the other local schools. He turned out to be the boyfriend of the girl the teacher had seen. He’d left the laptop sitting around his home, and his father saw it, didn’t recognise it, and saw my name and the school’s name on the bottom! The laptop was returned to the school and then to me.

The girl who stole it was expelled for theft and disability discrimination. Her boyfriend was suspended from his school and grounded by his father. And me? I NEVER let that laptop out of my sight again!

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