Classroom Theft

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by HArak24270, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. HArak24270

    HArak24270 Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2010

    Guys, I could really use your input on this issue.

    I will be teaching 9th grade Biology at a huge, suburban high school in Los Angeles County. Needless to say, theft is a major issue on this campus. (By "theft" I mean classroom break-ins, usually professional, and usually occuring over long weekends and holidays. Projectors, computers, and cameras are targeted.)

    The cash-strapped school said that it would likely be several months before they could provide me with a LCD/DLP projector, so I bought my own (refurbished). My plan is not to mount the projector to the ceiling, but rather to lock it to a cart during the day, and take it home with me every night.

    I also have a laptop computer, which I'll be taking home at night as well.

    The classroom has 2 sturdyish cabinets, which I will secure with chains and padlocks. That's where I'll store my personal stuff, labware, calculators, etc.

    What has your experience with classroom theft been? And what measures do you take to secure your stuff?

    Thanks for your input!
     
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  3. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I taught in Queens before coming back to Long Island. At my first school, we used to have our labs broken into but for the chemicals (this is way before computers populated every classroom). Eventuallys, bars were placed on the outsides of ALL windows but the emergency ones.

    All I can say is to be safe rather than sorry. It's going to be a huge hassle carrying that stuff to and from your car every day--but it'll be worth it. I also applaud you for getting your own projector for your students.

    The next best thing I can give you is to hide anything of value behind something dumb. I do this in my own house. I don't know what if that's plausable given the size of whatever it is that you feel is valuable.

    First thing I'd do is check with the janitors and fellow teachers to see what measures they've already taken that have worked/failed. If this is a major issue, I bet someone knows something or two about preventing it or at least minimizing the damage.

    I'm assuming school security is lacking?
     
  4. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Aug 8, 2010

    It's a shame you have to do this. My school hasn't experienced this in years. I've occasionally in the past (not intentionally mind you) left my classroom door unlocked during school hours, and never lost anything. I have a projector, laptop, document camera, and several other tech goodies. Myself, nor anyone else, has recently had any trouble. I guess I should count myself fortunate....

    I'm generally much better about locking everything now, and haven't forgotten to do it in a long time. But I haven't heard of our building being broken into at all in the last several years... (I wasn't there before that). I'm sorry you have to consider such things... what a world. Bleh.
     
  5. HArak24270

    HArak24270 Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I have spoken to a couple veteran teachers at the school about the theft problem. Most have their projectors securely (permanently) bolted to the ceiling - not possible, in my case.

    The yearbook advisor, whose class was robbed last year, went so far as to buy a 1,000 pound safe! He uses it to store digital cameras and other valuables.

    My room is going to be so bare. I'm bummed.
     
  6. Soccer Dad

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    Aug 8, 2010

    Well, if you decorate the room with student work and motivational posters you should be safe. I don't see thieves going for those commodities. Are the rooms usually trashed as well as robbed?

    As for the equipment, there's nothing else you can really do but protect it by bringing it home. I wish you the best.

    Also, do you plan on using the equipment every day? For instance, is it needed on the days the students are doing labs? Hopefully you won't have to carry it every day to the classroom.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Aug 10, 2010

    I agree with the poster who said to hide valuables behind dumb stuff. When I student taught the school was in a really bad neighborhood. My partnership teacher hid her LCD projector behind some old (OLD!) taxidermy specimen that were stored in the back closet. Other teachers had various items stolen during that semester but hers were never touched.
     
  8. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Aug 10, 2010

    I personally would think locking things in a sturdy cabinet attached w/ chains is good enough, but it's a shame you have to go through the trouble of lugging things back & forth daily! But I guess until you no longer need to use your own personal items & the school is able to supply them, I guess you do what you have to do.
     
  9. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    Aug 11, 2010

    I have to disagree, locking things in a cabinet is a beacon to a bad guy. If they took the effort to break into the school then they will probably smash open anything that looks like it is housing valuable gear.

    SOLUTION: If you can, buy a decent, large rifle safe and have the outside of it stenciled with something like "Armory of Education" Just don't tell anyone that it was originally a gun safe ( i know how easy some of those Californians can be panicked by the word gun)

    Good safes way 3 or 4 hundred pounds and take hours to cut into, the drawback is a good safe will cost you 500 to 2000 dollars depending on size and locking mechanism. If you choose to get a smaller safe, make sure you have it bolted tot he floor or wall.

    My father in law has 1600 dollar safe that you can put a reasonably sized man into and close the door behind him. Although that may me a bit larger than you need.

    Here is a few web sites with decent safes.
    http://www.eastkingsafe.com/business_safe.asp

    http://gunsafestore.com/
     
  10. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Aug 11, 2010

    What exactly do you need to carry to and from your car every day besides your laptop and projector? If it's just those two things, then I suggest you do the best thing possible: just bring it home. It's inconvenient but there's no worrying that way.
     
  11. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    Aug 11, 2010

    He means to store the 20 to 30 calculators that don't belong to him but are valuable school property that this current economic turmoil has rendered impossible to replace on school budgets. Things like that.
     

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