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mjh96 mjh96 is offline
 
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need advice on a stealing student
Old 08-15-2006, 03:48 PM
 
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I teach 4th grade. My principal warned me today about a student who will be in my class this year (school starts Sept. 5). The little boy is new to our school, but while reading his records from his last school, my principal discovered that among having an unstable home life, he has been in trouble multiple times for stealing in school. (The most recent was in June, when he stole his principal's cell phone off his desk, while he was in there for stealing something else!) My principal said she wanted to give me a heads up, so I can be "extra secure" in my room this year. I would really appreciate ANY ADVICE you might have! THANKS!!


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Lock everything up
Old 08-15-2006, 03:57 PM
 
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From your purse and cell to extra class valuables.I hope your principal and guidance people can support you with this student.
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Old 08-15-2006, 04:01 PM
 
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Give the little guy the benefit of the doubt, but keep anything valuable stored away where no one can access it.

This little guy is coming to your school to get a fresh start (possibly not the only reason, but it will be a fresh start nevertheless).
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Old 08-15-2006, 05:09 PM
 
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I agree that you shouldn't assume he'll steal from you. However, you need to protect yourself and your students. As others suggested, lock up your personal things. I also would keep belongings away from the door where he could easily walk out. Keep him away from your desk so he can't lift things off without being noticed.
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thief
Old 08-15-2006, 05:31 PM
 
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Keep everything of value locked up. If the event should iccur I would really make it an issue. I know every child is different, but this is what happened to me last year. I had a little girl that came from a rotten home life. She was also known to be a theif and I had been warned. I am not one to assume anything about anyone. I like to hear these things so that I can be on my guard, but I also give them a clean slate. Anyhow, I noticed little things going missing - markers from writing center, books, etc... Then my cell phone. Stole it and broke it. Had it for over a week. Noone acted like it was a big deal. I felt like I needed to let her know that she had lost my trust and that she would have to work very hard to earn it back. I also subtly let her know that if she continued to do things like that she would end up in the same place as her mom or dad (jail and dead from drugs). She lost her locker, all items were removed from her desk (minimal math book, reading book, pencil.) She was removed from the crowd and placed in the center of the room alone. She was not allowed to leave her seat at all. If we had freetime in room she had to sit there. I connected a value to the item stolen ($100). She had to work the money off. During freeplay she picked up trash, washed desks, cleaned boards, etc..... Eventually she did earn my trust back and everything was fine. I did not have any other problems out of her at all. I would like to think that this was a life lesson that she would have not gotten anywhere else.


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THis may seem extreme but....
Old 08-15-2006, 09:44 PM
 
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when I had students stealing in my After School Program, I had a police officer come to the group and talk about crime and how kids their age can get into a lot of trouble for stealing.

It worked. Never had ANYTHING stolen from my program after that. I never found out who did it,, and frankly didn't care. I just wanted it to stop.

It's not fair to single out the students and try not to let his past haunt him. it got to my brother so bad that he ended up dropping out. He got tired of everytime he tried, some teacher bringing up his past. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control, even more for kids....

Just my 10 cents
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stealing...
Old 08-16-2006, 05:08 AM
 
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I had a student last year who stole stuff. I couldn't put my finger on who it was until April/May. I was so tired of everything missing. When it got to people's snack missing is when it made it easy to figure out...who had the same snack? Well, she denied it of course and she even had her name on the snack in question (she also had permanent markers in her desk). I made her take the markers home...still stuff was missing. I confronted her, the principal did too and the story changed so many times...finally I talked to mom and she didn't really help much. One day this little one took someone's new special pencil....I lost it. (not proud of that either...just at the end of my rope) I kicked her out of my classroom...well, it must've made an impression, because when I went out to talk to her, she confessed everything. We had a good talk and she saw the counselor. We recommeded to mom that counseling outside school was a good idea...mom didn't follow through. This child said she couldn't stop herself and didn't want to steal anymore! It was heartbreaking. Her mom made her replace the stuff she stole (what she could remember anyway). I hope she does better this year. I have talked to her teacher for this year and she is going to give her the benefit of the doubt...but keep an eye on her also!
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stealing
Old 08-16-2006, 06:16 AM
 
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Make sure this student is not the last one to leave the room. I've noticed that is when a lot of the stealing went on in my class. This one child would line up last then snag stuff from peoples desk. Maybe you could take an inventory of certain things you have in your room. Keep your eyes wide open this kids seems to be really good at stealing.
Jen
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kids in need
Old 08-19-2006, 05:51 AM
 
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i teach k but have also had children who take things. the way i handle it is to speak to the child privately and tell them that if there is something in our classroom that they really want they should ask me about it first. i may actually give it to them or let them borrow it for a while. some of these kids come from unbelievable circumstances at home and stealing may actually be encouraged. i find if hard to take it out on the kids. it truly is the adults fault in the home. i also like the idea of having the police officer come in to speak to the kids. i do not like the idea of making the child the example in front of the rest of the class. sometimes they really do not know what they are doing is wrong or just can't stop themselves. they need help not humiliation. just my opinion.
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Mark everything!
Old 08-19-2006, 07:06 AM
 
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Use a permanent marker to boldly mark everything in your room and encourage your students to mark their belongings. I also try to keep my students from being tempted by locking up my purse and cell phone. My dh bought me a great laptop last year to use for school stuff but I never brought it to school (I teach middle school). I felt like it would be too tempting for some of my students.
You might also briefly tell all your students you have a zero tolerance policy for stealing and their will be severe consequences for anyone caught stealing. My concern is that if this child doesn't get a handle on this behavior, he will end up in jail!
Try to give him some extra love and attention, but keep your eye on him! Good luck!


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Old 08-19-2006, 09:07 PM
 
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I would definitely take all of the preventative measures mentioned above. However, I was looking at this from a Love & Logic perspective. What would Jim Fay do?

I think you should build your relationship with this kid like crazy. Do your best to bond with them from the start. Notice things about them without making a value judgement (I noticed you like orange. I noticed you play baseball.). If the kid likes you, they will be less likely to steal from you, or in your class (unless it's compulsive).

Then, if stealing does occur, you should make the kid own the problem. "This is a problem. How are you going to solve it?" I like what bamateach did with her cellphone--making the child "pay back" the cost of it. However, I would make the child come up with the solution.

JMO
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Thank you!
Old 08-20-2006, 07:04 AM
 
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I can't thank everyone enough for your ideas! I am going to try a few things, as I have two weeks left before school starts. I have had a chance to look through my student's file, now that it has arrived from his old school. First, I am going to try to contact the child's old school, to get more information about what was stolen, and what the circumstances were. I have a feeling that since the 4 thefts occurred between March and June, and there is no other mention of stealing anywhere else in the kid's file, that maybe it was a reaction to some kind of situation he was dealing with.

Also, I am going to try to make contact with the family ahead of time, saying I wanted to welcome them to our school (he is new to our school this year). That way my first contact with this child and his mother will be positive...and if a problem arises later, I will already have a relationship with them established.

I also really like the idea of making the child own the problem...it seems to me that it would make for more effective consequences.

Thanks again!
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