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Can A School Legally Hold Your Personal Property As Collateral?

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NJSubteacher NJSubteacher is offline
 
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Can A School Legally Hold Your Personal Property As Collateral?
Old 10-24-2018, 09:43 AM
 
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This is a new one. One of the schools I work at (where I tend to get most of my jobs) is implementing a new policy in which the substitute must give their personal keys for the main office to hold in exchange for classroom key. Then, you get your personal keys back at the end of the day once you turn in your sub keys.

This is a huge concern for me. Why would I trust my personal property with a secretary who may not even be guarding it 24/7? My plan is to just leave them an old key of no use to me anymore, once the policy starts. But, is this even Legal?? It also makes me ask myself, if they dont trust us with new classroom keys, why do they trust us with the kids?? I would appreciate feedback on this. What would you do?


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mkesub mkesub is online now
 
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Not a concern to me
Old 10-24-2018, 10:00 AM
 
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I work at some schools with this policy. It is not a huge concern for me personally. I like it because I know for sure I won't accidentally take the keys home. I would realize as soon as I tried to start my car. In a school without this policy I have once accidentally forgotten to return the keys. I had to turn back half way home when I remembered.



I don't see it as not "trusting" us with the keys, just that we are human and might forget, which can be an annoyance and a safety issue for them. If a sub never returned the classroom keys I'm thinking they might have to rekey the building, which would be a huge cost and hassle.



Clearly we are not going to accidentally take a child home with us.



It sounds to me like you have the perfect solution in bringing in a separate set of keys, since you are uncomfortable leaving yours.



Not sure if it is legal. Maybe since it is their policy, they can say if you don't accept our policy you can't work here. Similar to dress code policy... idk? But also, I imagine if you really insisted they would probably not require you to leave keys. What if you had been dropped off at the school, or taken a bus or walked? Then you wouldn't have keys. They'd have to have some other plan in that case.



Many schools don't let subs have keys at all.



Anyway, that's my feedback. I never had major concerns about this kind of policy, and I don't plan to. There's enough stuff in life to stress out about.
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Old 10-24-2018, 10:23 AM
 
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Thanks for your feedback MKEsub. It is good to understand the other side to this. I actually dont have a car and do take the bus to work currently. I cannot afford another car yet due to their low pay I get. Therefore the only key I can give them would be my house key. Lol. Funny thing is that none of the other schools in the district have this policy. Yes, there has been a couple times in the past I accidentally went home with the classroom key, but in both cases I returned it promptly.
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Old 10-24-2018, 10:52 AM
 
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Come to think of it, I think my reaction was similar to yours when I first encountered this policy. It is not a nice feeling to feel that you are not trusted.
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At least you get a key.
Old 10-24-2018, 11:41 AM
 
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I'd personally be happy to hand over my keys, license, or first born for a room/bathroom key!


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Old 10-24-2018, 12:25 PM
 
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Wow. I was expecting just the opposite reaction. I did have a chat with the secretary at the end of the day and she assured me all of our personal keys would be placed safely in a padlocked safe and she showed it to me. This definitely eased my worries. The largest concern would be if they lost or misplaced my personal keys.
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Old 10-24-2018, 01:47 PM
 
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They have this policy at one high school on my list. I find it insulting that they don't even trust us with a key, so I insult them back by giving them an old key I never use.
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Key Kidnapping
Old 10-24-2018, 02:19 PM
 
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I would actually LIKE it if the secretaries kept my key so that I wouldn't forget to give the key back at the end of the day - that's all it is - to make sure we don't forget and take the key home - nothing more than this. I almost took the lanyard home today and I thought of this thread and was thinking that I wish I had given her my keys so I wouldn't forget anything - I live 1 hour away! I would have really hated going back!

I would just give her something else that I wouldn't leave without if I didn't have keys.
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Old 10-24-2018, 04:33 PM
 
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In my district, we use paper timesheets that we give to the office in the morning. You have to return the key to get your timesheet back.
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I would be tempted...
Old 10-24-2018, 04:57 PM
 
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to print up some sort of form, with blanks for information about the secretary, that he or she would need to sign. It would guarantee that should my keys be stolen, my car broken into, and my home then ransacked, because my home address is on my car registration, the school secretary agrees to pay for all damages and insurance deductibles. It shouldn’t be a problem if my keys are absolutely safe with them.


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Old 10-24-2018, 08:53 PM
 
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One district where I sub does this. It can be annoying for several reasons. At their upper elementary the secretaries leave promptly at 4 (well 3:59:59) for their yoga class, the last bus comes at 3:55 and the school is large. Sub dismissal is at 4:00. So you have subs walking groups of students to the bus doors to then make a mad dash to the office to turn in ID badges/keys. Not an ideal situation.

At the high school the sub keys are left on a countertop at the end of the day. Again not an ideal situation as someone could take the keys, use the remote to find the car, and drive off.

Just one of many things subs have to deal with in a day.
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personal document
Old 10-24-2018, 09:22 PM
 
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Not personal keys but I wonder if they might ask for your driver's license instead. This might be a better form of collateral so that if there's any guest that tries to leave campus during lunch break then they will need to sign out as well.

Quote:
keys are left on a countertop at the end
The smallest things are the easiest to lose like a thumb drive. There's subfolders I know that have envelopes inside where you can store keys or other small items for people to take notice.

What happens if you don't have a key or some personal document to surrender?
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Old 10-25-2018, 03:44 AM
 
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Since I only sub in one elementary school I wouldn't be concerned about it. But, I wouldn't feel 100% comfortable if it was a school where I didn't know anyone. I think your idea of giving them another random key is perfect. They'll never know it's not your personal key. Put it on a cute keychain and hand it over.
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Old 10-26-2018, 01:49 AM
 
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And from another perspective, why would a school hand over a key to a room where there are kids who've been entrusted to the district... without some assurance it will be returned?

Those who are worried about the security of their personal keys might do well to remember that parents are just as worried about the safety and security of their children. Systems to ensure that are a necessity. These systems aren't designed to aggravate subs or demonstrate a lack of trust in subs. They are designed to support the security and safety of our kids.

Lost, unreturned school keys are one part of the problem. Subs come and go... as others have pointed out, we are human and might forget. Should a sub who loses a key be required to pay for the resulting cost of changing and re-keying locks?

There may be a "better" way to handle this than asking for personal keys as collateral but I support and respect the concept. I have a feeling, however, that some will be "insulted" no matter how it's handled.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:04 PM
 
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It doesn't bother me at all. Ehhh. I sub at 13+ schools and only two have this policy (all the same district), so it makes think it's up to the individual school
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forgetful and just remembering
Old 10-27-2018, 03:10 AM
 
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There was at least one school I've been at that does collateral. What I don't get is how this seems too redundant when employees including temp workers are bondable. When we check in, they have a system in place where a sub signs in and checks out materials like the subfolder and room key and may be other equipment. Unless a school is short staffed, there should be a clerk over the counter in a main office procuring all this back so that any visitor just doesn't walk away with school keys.

What I do is use an elastic rubber band and attach it to the key and have it hanging around my arm. I always remember to return that way instead of stuffing it into a pocket. At the end of a day's duty, I have it looped around a subfolder so it's not only visible but attached to it so any clerk can see that both are back. The subfolders I get don't have pockets in them for keys. And then there are subs that don't bother returning subfolders back in an office because I would see them laying around some classroom.
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:56 AM
 
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As I wrote earlier, I don't have to deal with this policy, as we have paper timesheets that we turn in and receive back in exchange for the key. That said, I understand my responsibility and also take the precaution of hanging the key from the district ID badge lanyard around my neck so I don't lose it. Many schools put the keys on stretchy wrist bands or a lightweight lanyard to help prevent loss.

I don't believe being asked to turn in your car key is safe or reasonable (due to theft risk). If faced with that, I'd do as others mentioned and give the office a useless "spare" key rather than my real one. ( It's such an easy way out that I'm surprised the school offices don't anticipate that.) Taking people's keys is not a well thought out strategy. There are better options.

I believe taking car keys is also asking to be sued. It could lead to theft of that person's car and home. Too often these kinds of "quick fix" decisions are left up to school clerical staff, who can tend to be myopic and don't necessarily use the best judgement (I can tell you other stories).

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 10-27-2018 at 02:10 PM..
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This happened to me
Old 10-30-2018, 11:18 AM
 
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Some schools began asking for my car key to get an ID badge and/or key.
I asked my insurance agent about the district’s liability. He said that if someone drove my car the district would be liable for any damage done.
I used the magic word “liable” in addressing the school board about several issues such as sub pay, lack of keys during code red lockdowns, etc. the issue receiving the most attention was liability for taking car keys. The policy was subsequently forbidden. We didn’t get a pay increase for 18 months and a committee looked into code red safety.
If nothing had been done I’d decided to tell the secretary that I’d be fine with both of us taking inventory of my car and both signing off on the inventory and rechecking contents at the end of the day to prevent any missing items being held her responsibility.
Of course I’m retired from the district and have a pension as fall back income.
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this is a nuts.
Old 10-30-2018, 03:59 PM
 
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haha, from a School District liability - this is a nuts.

This is a policy from an individual school office person who is not seeing the whole picture. I don't think any lawyer for the district would back this situation.



This is a dangerous precedent for any school to take and for any substitute to fall into.

This is an abuse of power. Don't buy into it.
Giving your right shoe is much safer.
Or one of those plastic keys from Fairy Tale to Town.
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