A Momologue by Jill: How I dealt with an upsetting school-theft policy.
"My 11-year-old daughter recently lost her wallet at school. That morning, she was sure she had put it in her backpack. When she opened her bag at lunchtime, it was gone. She thought that was the worst of it.
In the wake of a recent rash of thefts from sixth grade lockers--friends, teachers and staff assumed that it was probably stolen. Seems likely, given the circumstances. But what wasn't so likely was the way the school chose to handle it. Backpacks and lockers were opened and emptied, and my daughter was the one who had to go from friend to friend and examine their possessions. While she was rifling through their stuff, her classmates were lectured about stealing by a teacher. The mood around my daughter and her friends and classmates was one of insecurity and suspicion.
My daughter was embarassed and devastated. The emotional toll this took on her for me, her mother, was heart-breaking. She felt absolutely terrible that class time was wasted, and that her friends and classmates were treated like criminals--especially when she later realized she had left her wallet in the car. The tears flowed, as I tried my best to console her.
I support the rule that theft can't be tolerated in school. It saddens me, however, that standards of privacy and personal rights that apply to the public do not necessarily apply to girls in a private school.
My daughter came clean and apologized to everyone involved the next day. I'm not so sure I would be so brave... that wallet would just have to be "lost" forever!"