Dealing with Stealing at School

Stealing is all too common in schools. Many parents have encountered the frustration of a child coming home to report that something had been stolen at school. Whether it's pocket change, lunch tickets, pencils or a more expensive item such as an iPod, stealing can be a tricky problem to solve. Here are some suggestions for how to deal with stealing at school.

  1. Teach your child how to protect his belongings. This may be advice given after the fact, but unfortunately, having something stolen teaches this important lesson. There are three easy ways to keep personal items safer at school. The first is to keep them out of sight or less accessible. Zip the items in an inside pocket in the backpack or inside jacket pocket. The second is to clearly and permanently label personal items with your child's name. Don't make it small. Use large, readable letters. This acts as a deterrent because potential theives don't want to get caught with something that clearly belongs to someone else. Finally, have your child decorate the item to make it unique from others. This works particularly well with electronics that all look similar, such as cell phones or ipods.If the item looks unique, it will stand out and be easy to spot in someone else's hands.
  2. Notify the school staff. This means calling or coming in to speak personally with the teacher, lunch room aides, hall monitors or principal. If school staff know about missing objects and stealing problems, they can keep a lookout and possibly increase security. If the stolen object is labeled or recognizable, they might notice another student with it and be able to return the item to your child and discipline the thief.
  3. Keep items of value at home. Bringing them to school invites temptation and puts pressure on your child to keep them in sight at all times-a challenging task. With stealing at school a problem, why add to the possibilities that your child's item will become a statistic?
  4. Teach your child that stealing is wrong. If all parents did that, the numbers of thefts at school would decrease. It sounds simple, but responsible parenting is key to creating responsible kids, teens and adults.
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