Ya'll remember Klepto-boy, dontcha? He was one of the little critters that was busy raiding my candy jar back before Christmas. I would have thought, after Deputy Dude went and had him wallowing in a puddle of tears with visions of incarceration dancing in his head, that he might have learned a lesson.
On St. Patricks Day, during homeroom when the kids are unloading from the busses, and heading back from breakfast, I had to step next door to talk to Mr. Social Studies about a little lecture we needed to give the kids about gossip and rumors. It's that time of year when the gossip flies and the fights start.
Klepto Boy, who is in Mr. Social Studies' homeroom, sees his chance and goes next door to my room and grabs one of my green pens from the pencil cup I keep on my desk. This is my pencil cup and the kids know that they are not allowed to take anything from it. Even more, they're not allowed to touch anything on my desk, regardless.
I walk back into my room and one of my kids, who sits by my desk informs me that I've received a visit from Klepto Boy. I turn heel, find him next door, complete with my green pen tucked behind his ear. (The kids know I use a lot of wild colored pens and he obviously wanted a green one for St. Patrick's Day.) I ask if it's mine, and he stammers and hems and haws. I inform him that someone witnessed him taking it. He finally admited that he took it.
So I wrote up a discipline referral because, after all, this is the second time he's been caught doing the same thing. The referral gets worked, he ends up with 2 days of ISS, which is lucky because according to School Board Policy, he could have been suspended. However, there is a problem.
Klepto-Mom is not happy.
I'm in another parent meeting with the team on Monday morning (what a way to start the week), when The Principal comes over and asks if I could step in and talk with Klepto-Mom and The Enforcer (who worked the referral). Apparently Klepto-Mom doesn't agree that Klepto-Boy should have received a referral for what he did and refused to sign it.
"He just borrowed a pen. He didn't steal it," she says.
I then relay, yet again, the story: he left his homeroom, entered my room, took a pen off my desk, never asked to borrow, blah, blah, blah.
"He said he needed it to write down his assignments and he never lies to me so I know it's the truth."
At this point all three of us look at Klepto-Mom with our mouths agape. This is the mother of a 13-year old and she thinks he's never lied? Is she crazy?
We then go over again the situation (I won't bore you the recitation). She again insists that he just borrowed the pen and meant to give it back.
"Well, if he needed a pen, why didn't he ask his homeroom teacher?" asks The Principal. "Why did he leave his room and go into another room, onto another teacher's desk and take a pen without asking."
"Well he just borrowed it." Klepto-Mom insists. She then demands to know why her son isn't being "properly supervised" so he doesn't leave the classroom.
We inform her that the kids are allowed to move a bit among the team during homeroom. After all, they're going to lockers, breakfast, visiting other teachers to turn in work or get makeup assignments. Amazing, but apparently this mother wants us to watch her child every second to make sure he doesn't do anything wrong, rather than have him develop the self-discipline and character to do the right thing in the first place. It is, of course, all our fault.
We got nowhere. The Enforcer and The Principal explain that no, he wasn't borrowing, he was stealing and yes, she should thank her lucky stars that he didn't get suspended. Klepto-Mom says she doesn't agree and there's obviously no changing our minds and she's just very upset because her little boy never lies and never steals. We are just mean, evil people who aren't doing our jobs.
Klepto-Mom leaves. I thank The Principal and The Enforcer for backing me up (not all administrators do this apparently; I'm blessed). The Principal rolls her eyes and shakes her head. "She had better get used to orange jumpsuits if she's going to make excuses for him forever," she says.
I can see it now, four-five years from now. Klepto-Boy is pulled over in a stolen vehicle, looks up at the officer and says, "But officer, I was just borrowing it. I really meant to give it back."