When I arrived at work yesterday morning, there were some odd things afoot.
For one, the window in the door to my classroom was boarded up.
“Hmm,” I thought. “This is weird.”
For another, my chairs had all been stacked up against the back wall. I was pretty sure that I remembered leaving them where they usually are, around the three tables. But, you know, we older women do forget things …
Then I saw that the computer cart had been moved more to the middle of the room – and that it was wide open, with power cords strewn on the floor. I glanced inside, a little nervous now. I didn’t see a single laptop on the top shelf. I bent down to get a really good look inside the cart, and as I did, I saw a single piece of tempered glass on the floor. I also saw that there were actually four laptops on the bottom shelf of the cart. There were supposed to be sixteen laptops in total.
Although I make this sound rather long, it actually only took me all of about three seconds to realize that my classroom had been broken into during the night, that most of the laptops had been stolen, and that somebody (the security company? school district maintenance people?) had come in and cleaned up the broken glass and boarded up the broken window long before I got there that morning.
I immediately started zoning out about whether or now I had actually locked the cart when I had left work the day before. I’m pretty religious about doing that, but occasionally I have forgotten, and now I was worried. However, I soon found the padlock to the cart, and it was still locked but had been cut with bolt cutters. So at least I hadn’t made it easy for them!
The classroom next door to mine also had the window in its door boarded up, due to having been smashed. In the dark hallway, the thieves apparently tried to get into the wrong classroom. There was another, bigger window beside one of the exit door that had been broken as well and was now boarded up, and this was obviously how they had gotten into the school.
A few minutes later, another laptop was discovered sitting on a table down the hallway. For some reason, it had been left behind by the thieves. So that meant that they had nicked eleven of the sixteen laptops that used to live in that computer cart. They also bent the doors of the cart enough that it is no longer usable and must be replaced.
Still later, in the playground below my classroom windows, one of our morning playground supervisors noticed a big, heavy garbage can lid pushed up against the wall. The metal casing around one of my windows had been pried off and was now laying on the ground. It looked like the burglars tried to climb up and remove the window glass to gain access. When that proved impossible, they went over to the school entrance door, broke a window there, climbed in, went down the hallway and eventually into my classroom and away with the laptops.
I went back to the office to talk to my principal and vice-principal about the incident, but would you believe that they knew nothing about it?!? The alarm must have gone off, the security company must have been alerted, the police must have been in attendance, somebody had obviously cleaned up whatever mess there was – but no one saw fit to inform the administration of the school in question?!? Both of them immediately started making phone calls, but they have learned very little in the two days since this happened. WTF?!?
I know that everything was insured and will be replaced as soon as possible, I know that some kids will be really inconvenienced for a while until that happens, and I know that it’s very lucky that my classroom wasn’t trashed as well, but those aren’t the things that bother me the most. What bothers me is that it is very apparent that the robbers knew exactly where those laptops were. This wasn’t random, they targeted my classroom. I know this because it is impossible to see into my classroom windows from the playground outside: my windows are too high, even if the blinds are wide open. I also know this because I have only had that particular computer cart in my classroom for the past two years: before that, the cart was kept in a different room. And only a handful of kids in the school even know this cart exists: those laptops had specific programs loaded onto them and were for the exclusive use of kids who receive learning support for writing difficulties, not for the general population. So, worst of all, I know that whoever stole those laptops is more than likely a former student of mine, someone that I probably taught within the past two years.
Someone who is likely no more than fourteen years old now.
And that upsets me too.