Sometimes my kids just astound me.
Case in point. This morning, while we're doing advisory (which means the buses are unloading, kids are heading to breakfast, and heading into the rooms), Mrs. Language comes in with Klepto-Boy who's just looking sheepish and embarrassed. Apparently he told his parents that he got in trouble for stealing (and this is before the principals have even worked the referral) and they insisted that he make restitution. He gave me $4.00 (very crumpled, looks like they came from his allowance) to pay for the candy he stole, and he gave Mrs. Language some rubber bands and a new box of staples. The fact that he told his parents just amazes me, and I'm amazed that they even insisted he pay up. I added a post-it note to the referral indicating what he'd done so perhaps he won't get much besides detention.
Mrs. Language and I pulled Kelpto Boy #2 out of gym and asked him what he knew about the stealing, indicating that his name had been mentioned by several people as being involved in the stealing, and reminding him that I'd spotted him with candy wrappers. In other words, he looked guilty as hell. He got very defensive, said he didn't do a thing wrong, the candy was from Halloween, blah, blah, blah. I then used a trick I was taught by Deputy Dude - the art of the bluff.
"If I were to tell you that there was a video surveillance system in my room, what would I find when I review the tapes from the past few weeks?" I asked very calmly.
Big Huge Tears roll down Klepto Boy's face. "Me stealing."
Note that I never said there was a video surveillance system. I just suggested there might be. Amazing how people hear only parts of what we tell them.
So we got a confession, big huge tears, and had a little talk with Klepto Boy #2 who has undergone a really dramatic personality change lately. We asked if he was hungry, if things were all right at home, and why he felt he needed to steal. He clammed up, kept rolling tears down his face, and just stood there. We agreed that he did need a referral, but that I would write on there that he admitted guilt and they may go easy on him.
We did get another name, and about ten minutes late when we called Klepto Boy #3 out of gym to ask him, he was confessing all before we'd even opened our mouths. He was about ready to melt into a big puddle of sobs, and after we talked about not doing what your friends are doing when they're wrong, we let him go back to class. Since he readily confessed (he probably heard that "they have cameras!") we gave him a behavior note. This is not the type of kid to get into trouble (we were surprised, to say the least, that his name came up) and I think the scare might be all it takes to get him back on track.
So our little candy theiving ring is all handled...for now.