Monday, March 23, 2009


Pin It Have you ever felt like somebody stepped into your life and rooted around without your consent?

Have you ever felt like somebody looked into the depths of…well, you?

That’s exactly what I feel like right now; what I’ve felt like all day.

It’s hard to explain, really. This blog post is an attempt to expound on how this felt, and one of the reasons why this weekend was such a difficult ordeal—a marathon in endurance—so to speak. While some of the hardships brought on were of my own doing, many of them were the direct result of the actions of others.

Today was a day off for kids and a work day for teachers. We were to be at work by 8:00 and work until 3:00, giving us ample time to get standard reports ready, and to get prepared for parent-teacher conferences on Wednesday. I was driving to school when I noticed that I had a message from a fellow teacher on my phone. I listened as I drove, and I was shocked by what I heard. Sometime, last night between 9:00 and this morning, my school had been broken into. I was instructed in the message not to come to school until 9:30; that way the police investigation would be complete.

My school was a crime scene.

I promptly turned my car around and began to drive home, wondering whose rooms had been broken into; wondering just what had been taken.

A few minutes later I pulled into my parking space when my phone rang. It was the school. I needed to come in as soon as possible—my room had been broken into.

My heartbeat quickened as I drove to the building, envisioning the worst possible scenarios. Stolen computer monitors, TV, overhead projector, stoplight, and so on. As I drove, I felt sick to my stomach and called my sister—I needed to talk to someone about what was happening. As I drove, the migraine I’d woken up with this morning had returned in a fury and began throbbing in the center of my skull like the heartbeat of a bull moose.

When I pulled up to the school parking lot, I at once noticed the police car.

All was quiet.

As I entered the office, I noticed that the principal’s door had been forced open, and all of his cabinets had been rifled through. The school office as also in a state of ‘unkemptness;’ it was obvious that whoever had been looking for valuables had been in a hurry.

I saw the small huddle of teachers who’d been phoned to come to the school because their rooms had been broken into. I at once felt close to each and every one of them—we were all in the same boat.

The police officers were still doing their policely things, and we were informed—for the time being—to simply wait until they were finished.

It wasn’t long before we were escorted to our classrooms; the feeling of trepidation was rising incrementally as we came nearer and nearer to ground zero. As I walked by a few other classrooms, I noticed that each of them had had the doorknobs broken off—probably with a sledgehammer—realization of what had really happened began to sink into my marrows.

I stood at my door, staring at the dents and broken door handle, wondering what I would find when I went inside.

As I snapped on the light, my eyes shot around the room, doing a quick inventory. I had expected to find all of my flatscreen computer monitors gone, perhaps the TV, and wanton senseless destruction left in the wake of those bent on the larceny and anguish of others.

As I began to analyze my classroom, I noticed that my desk had been rummaged through, as well as several of the cabinets.

It looked like most everything was in place. That’s when I realized that my HD video camera was missing, as well as my new Nikon Coolpix camera. My heart skipped a beat as I suddenly remembered the 5th grade late-nighter activity on Friday night. I remembered a parent staying after to help put things away when the activity had ended, and she had taken my video camera and put it in my car. I didn’t usually take it home, but this weekend I did, I remembered that it was on my kitchen counter.

I breathed out a heavy sigh of relief—that camera had cost nearly $1,700 when I’d bought it. I searched for my Nikon, but it was nowhere to be found. I chalked up the $200 loss as ‘it could have been much worse.’ As I traversed the school and saw the losses of others, I felt very fortunate; some teachers had lost projectors, laptops, digital cameras, and video cameras; basically anything which was lightweight, electronic, and worth money was taken.

Luckily, the projector in my classroom was the oldest in the school…the proverbial ‘brick’ projector. I am pretty sure that it was the same projector Noah brought with him on the Ark. Since it was obviously old and archaic, it was left behind as worthless.

When went into the kiva by the library, I felt my heart drop out of my chest. Whoever had broken in had taken the two carts containing the school laptops and cleared them out. The cart doors had been ripped off and every one of the computers was gone. One of the printers on the cart top had been shoved to the floor, where it had broken into several pieces; it was now ruined.

I felt myself not only sickened, but angry. I was angry that someone would break into an elementary school and steal from kids.

I was at the school for a couple of hours, but it felt different to me now. I felt…violated. I found myself not wanting to be there as I worked on students’ scores for standard reports. In the end, I talked to the principal and got permission to come home to work.

I still feel ill by what happened. I find myself speechless.

As I dug in my computer bag, I was grateful that I’d made it a habit to take my Nikon D60, my laptop, and my iPod home each night. In fact, for some reason or another I’d taken home most of my other small valuables this weekend. As I reached into in an inner pocket of my laptop bag I found my Nikon Coolpix.

Like I said, I was fortunate.

By the way, you can read more about it HERE.


Valerie said...

Oh, how awful!!! I'm so glad you had most of your things home with you. I can't imagine how it must feel to have your personal things rifled through and stolen. So sorry!!

mywest said...

With these hard times we will probably see much more of this type of thing. Even out where we live more homes are being broken into. The crime of the city is moving to the suburbs and beyond. I've taken the key out of the quad but now I'm thinking perhaps I need to put a chain and lock on it. Schools seem to be a target where in Spokane we had thefts during broad daylight with camera's running. They must know the quality of some of the older cameras aren't that great. The cameras just installed at work are state of the ark and you can see pimples on someones face at 50 feet. Glad you had most of your valuables not in your room.

The Scotts said...

Wow! I am appalled and disgusted at the nerve these people had. Stealing is bad enough, but you are totally right... they are stealing from KIDS! I am so sorry.

Gerb said...

My heart dropped straight into my stomach as I read this. I am sorry you (and every teacher and student, really) had to go through this experience.

Meg said...

I'm so sorry! That broke my heart reading that. What horrible people to steal from a school.

Kris said...

This is what scares me the most. I would just puke if I came to our school and that happened. The cameras help. We have had graffiti and that's bad enough. It is a custodian's nightmare.

cari said...

This is horrible! I hope they can recover all that was stolen.

Michelle said...

That stinks, it makes me sick inside too! That is just wrong! Just be glad something/someone prompted you to take your things home for the weekend hummmmm........I love you!

Bee said...

I am so glad your camera was in your bag. You were very lucky (or being watched over). The last school I worked at was broken into like this. Many computers from our lab were taken, and windows were busted out with traces of blood from where the thieves had cut themselves. It is a terrible feeling. I'm sorry this happened to all of you. Hang in there.

On a lighter note, does your projector have a roller that you roll the transparency film on? If not, then mine is from the ark:)

Teachinfourth said...

V - Thanks. I'm glad I had a lot of it with me as well. Having somebody go through your stuff is pretty sickening, really. It makes you feel...well, violated.

MW - It's a sad world we've become.

J&J - It is a pretty sad thing. Some of the younger kids were scared that the 'bad men' were going to come back. Also, rumors were rampant among the students about what had been stolen.

In my own class, my students were telling me about all of the things I'd lost. It was kind of funny to see their expressions when they saw all of these 'missing' items in the room.


G - That's what my stomach did when I heard about the break-in. Thanks for the concern.

M - You're right. Stealing is bad enough...but when it's from kids?

K - We're getting a security system installed in the next week.

C - I do, too. I guess time will tell though.

M - Say that again...and thanks. You know what for.

B - Isn't it just the worst feeling in the world? Ugh...luckily, when the school day started and we plowed on like everything was fine it felt a lot better.

I guess my projector must have been with Moses then...probably in the Ark of the Covenant. I get the two Arks mixed up so often.


A Lark said...

That makes me sick!! I just turned on the news to catch the weather report and caught the tail end of a report about Amelia Earhart being broken into. I knew I would find info. on your blog. (: I'm glad you didn't lose more, but wow! That is so crazy. Sorry, friend.

Panama Jones said...

I understand that this happened to both Sunset View and Edgemont. Hopefully with three sets of clues the police will be able to track down the perpetrators. It is sick to think that someone would rob a school.

Not nearly so gut-wrenching, a couple of years ago headsets started disappearing out of our airplanes. Each plane has three headsets for the pilots to use, plus an observer. It's not unheard of for a single headset to be missing or need replacing, but when it happened on plane after plane the people in charge started looking around. One place they checked was eBay. Sure enough, there were the headsets. A pilot who evidently wanted to increase his salary decided to take some and auction them off. His mistake? Each headset was clearly marked "Property of ASA," visible in the photo accompanying the auction.

Hopefully at least some the items stolen are similarly marked.

annette said...

The exact thing happened over X-mas break at SSV and I felt the very same way. I also felt suspicious of anyone coming or going at school that I didn't know. It's unsettling.

BTW, I didn't know not to put said items in your car. You were busy chatting, so in it all went. I think you were just lucky and Someone was looking after you.

Linn said...

That is horrible! I cannot imagine that happening or how you must have felt. I'm so sorry!

island girl said...

That's terrible! Glad to hear that many of your valuables were with you though. We had a teacher's car broken into today at my school...window smashed and several things taken. I think unfortunately it's a sign of the times.

Jayne said...

Okay Jason,
I read this one after the latest post. I am shocked! Unbelievable. I'm always so angry at situations like this.
So glad you had your things. Oh, I hope they catch them. Any connection to the Friday night happening?

Emily said...

Jas I'm so sorry. I'm glad you're safe and you have your camera. Our house was broken into twice and it's a very horrible feeling. Let me know if I can do anything for you.

Teachinfourth said...

J - Yeah, it was awful. However, it could have been worse.

R - You're kidding! That was not a very smart crook.

A - Thanks again.

L - Hopefully, it won't happen again. I'm just glad that they didn't break things just to be destructive. That would have been MUCH worse.

I - Kind of makes you sick, doesn't it?

J - I don't think there was any connection. The kids on the roof on Friday were just kids making bad choices, the thefts were clearly very well planned.

E - I didn't know about your break-ins. I hope the losses weren't too bad.

Yancy said...

catching up on some posts that I'd missed on your blog.
Wow, this is horrible.
I'm glad none of your expensive stuff was stolen.

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