During the last few weeks I've noticed something very odd happening on my desk.
My candy jar was losing candy.
At first I thought perhaps I was imagining it, but then I got smart and started making very slight little marks with a dry erase marker on the jar where the candy level was. And the candy level kept going down. I'd add more Sweet-Tarts, Jolly Ranchers and a holiday chocolate mix and the candy kept disappearing. I wasn't eating it, and I wasn't handing it out (I use it primarily for a game we do called Candy Vocabulary where I call out definitions, and if a student answers correctly they get a piece of candy.) Today was the final straw when I noticed that sometime during 3rd and 4th period, my candy jar went down a full inch. Someone was obviously stealing from me, most likely when I was doing hall duty in between classes.
Now, I know it's only candy, but this really pisses me off. For one thing, it may be candy today but who's to say it won't be a car or jewelry or whatever in a few years? And I paid for that candy out of my own pocket (and believe me, these pockets aren't deep) and to have these little snots steal from me just grates on my very last nerve.
I calmly informed my afternoon classes that there would be no candy in my room until I felt like I could trust them again. I told them that I was personally offended and morally outraged that they would do something so low down and sneaky. I also informed them that if they witnessed someone stealing, and didn't report it, they were just as guilty. (That got their attention, amazingly enough.) I stated that I wanted names of the guilty, and better yet, the guilty to come confess to me privately.
There being no honor among thieves, by the begining of 6th period I had at least 4 kids give me the name of the kid who was apparently stealing. Interestingly enough, I was also informed that he was stealing from Mrs. Math and Mrs. Language as well. Mrs. Language has been missing rubber bands from her desk, as well as staples from her stapler. The staples, by the way, are straightened out by pinhead seventh grade boys who then put them in click pencils, rather than lead, and shoot them at people. I blasted off an email to the rest of the team, passing along the information from my informants about who our hotfingered little kleptomaniac was.
My kids were finishing up their tests and working on a word search when Mrs. Language appeared at my door and asked to speak to me. I went out in the hallway and discovered she had little Klepto there. Apparently he had been caught stealing staples - again - in her class by three kids who started yelling, "He's stealing staples! He's stealing staples!" She had just read my email when the uproar began and had her student teacher cover her class while she dragged Klepto over to my room.
We had Klepto empty his pockets and amazing enough we find rubber bands, staples and candy wrappers, all of which match the candy missing from my jar. Klepto whimpered and mumbled and said he wasn't stealing, that the candy wrappers were old, from earlier this week. I reminded him that we haven't done candy vocabulary this week and he finally admitted that he'd taken the candy. Mrs. Language can lay a guilt trip on a kid like nobody's business and she does it in that great Southern drawl that just drips sarcasm and honey all at once. By the time she was done, Klepto's head was hanging so low I thought he was going to bump his nose on his shoelaces.
I wrote up the referral and gave us both as witnesses, along with the names of my informants (on a sticky note so Klepto won't see who squealed). Mr. Enforcer has it, and I'm sure he's a tad disappointed. He's a tech-head and was all ready to find a camera unit to hook up to my laptop and record the kids stealing. Maybe I'll let him hook it up anyway, just in case.