Friday, 26 June 2009

Cell phone saga - the last episode.

I overdid things yesterday so had to spend most of the day in bed today. My maid is going on leave tomorrow (it was her last day today) & travelling back to her homelands so it was the perfect opportunity to go through Camryn's wardrobe & send 50% of it away aswell! She has had an enormous growth spurt this year & grown out of at least half of what she owns - REALLY grown out of it - I'm talking flared trousers just not being able to pass as 3/4 pants any longer!!! So Mercy is delighted & I am relieved, even Cami is over the moon as she is now able to find things much more easily in her wardrobe. To me this is the perfect type of charity. Help those you can & those that help you, otherwise you are just feeding the "begging" mentality that is so prevalent here.

All the stretching & jumping up & down left me sore but the thought of the looming "new school" interview this morning kept me awake last night - so as soon as it was over by lunchtime today the adrenaline finally stopped coursing through my veins & I crashed, big time! On Tuesday (the day after Jack's phone was stolen) I had to get Jack home by lunchtime in order for Shane to take him off to a KZN hockey tournament so we had to return home with the police documents in hand as there wasn't enough time to fill them in there. I decided to phone the mother of one of Jack's friends as he had had HIS cellphone stolen during the first week of school & I was wanting to know how how the school had handled the situation. She told me that she had threatened to enlist the help of the Police but that the school had implored her not to & had given the class a stern talking to, threatening serious consequences for anyone found to be involved in the theft or any further incidences (as an Ipod had also gone missing during the first week!).

She told me that the boy in question had been at junior school with her son & that she had the cell no. of his "step-dad to be", his legal guardian whilst his mother was away overseas for a limited time. She suggested I phone him (which had not crossed my mind as I was obviously most apprehensive about phoning & introducing myself to a "parent" then proceeding to brand their "child" a thief!) The phone call went remarkably well & it transpired that *Archie had seen the phone the night before & asked "the two" who it had belonged to & not received a satisfactory answer. It turned out that he had "taken in" the 100% rugby scholarship boy from the township, & that the boy lived with them for the majority of the time to alleviate transport problems that he faced trying to get to school from the high-density township where he stays when with his single mother.

Archie had apparently been experiencing money going missing in greater & greater amounts since the arrival of the boy he was trying to help! He had also noticed the regression of "his" son as a result, as apparently the influence had caused him to become someone *Archie " was ashamed to know". He asked if he could phone me back after interrogating his "son" & within an hour he was in my lounge, phone in hand, together with an appallingly written half-hearted "apology" note, (Camryn could have spelt better at 8) , putting all the blame on the other boy & claiming to only be responsible for "keeping" the phone. Poor * Archie was visibly distraught over the whole ordeal & begged me not to return to the Police with the documents. He had grounded the boy for the holidays (3 weeks), taken away his cell phone & computer & was taking the other boy back to his mother that afternoon, irrespective of whether or not he was able to make it to his exams for the following 2 days. He intended talking to the other boy's mother & telling her that he was unable to assist her with any more handouts for her son, or accomodation & lifts for him, in the future.

Apparently he had bought the boy a good quality cellphone so there was no need for him to steal one. It has since been discovered that the boy has another 4 cellphones, presumably stolen! *Archie went into the school on Thursday to discuss the matter with the Head of Grade & explain why he was disassociating himself & his child from the other boy, who had only served to negatively influence "his" child & corrupt his character. I feel that *Archie is perhaps using the other boy as too much of a scapegoat to absolve "his" own son from the severity of their actions as I think that they were equally responsible for the theft of the cellphone & I'm sure it was HIS son on MXit to the girl & the one who deleted all Jack's contacts, after all HE is the one obsessed with her! He was also the one wanting Jack to PAY to get his phone back! I DID feel sorry for *Archie, having to deal with all of this while his fiance was away & by the time he left it was late afternoon & I was due in hospital at 6a.m the following morning, so I didn't go back to the Police station with the paperwork as I was fully expecting the school to take some serious action the following day.

I sent an e mail to the Headmaster, from my cell phone, on Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after my operation, informing him that we were removing our child from his establishment. I received a reply yesterday morning, from his secretary, requesting that I meet with the Headmaster at 10a.m on Monday morning. I had asked that my husband please be contacted telephonically with regard to this matter as we would like to know what disciplinary action has been taken with regard to these two boys (seeing that our son Jack was their subject) & that he please acknowledge receipt of the e mail so that I could pursue enrollment at other schools. I replied that I had "no desire for any further interactive communications" but that I would forward the e mail onto my husband, who may choose to reply separately. He hasn't. It appears that this debacle doesn't even warrant a personal phonecall so Jack is already accepted into a new school & we are hoping that next term we may experience a more personal relationship with his mentors & that his sports coaches may actually know his name! As the new school apparently has a far more organised approach to sports practices & fixtures we are hoping that it won't be necessary for Jack to take his beloved cell-phone to school as there won't be any last minute change of plans.

What are your children's school policies on theft & extortion?

I know that if my dh had received a personal phone call from the Headmaster himself this week he may well have reconsidered moving Jack, had he been satisfied that the boys had been duly disciplined.

Do you think this Headmaster has done his job well & served his school to the best of his ability, bearing in mind that two other Headmasters from "rival" schools are now fully-aware of the circumstances surrounding Jack's departure?

What would you have done in our position? I know the story is long-winded but some of you may have kids at high school too & I would really appreciate your thoughts.


Michelle Ramsay said...

Hope you have had a good rest and recovered from your "overdoing it" yesterday. Glad all is sorted out and you have the phone back. I agree that the father was putting too much blame on the other child, at least he made a move to make things right - for him, this was probably the last straw. What would I do in your position - I honestly don't know. There are obviously lots of thing that caused such a drastic move as to change schools and I hope that Jack is very happy in his new school.

Vicki said...

I'm sure it happens here as well and our schools have strict rules for cellphone use - confiscation happens if found using them during classes. Haven't heard about any police involvement here though over a cellphone. I would like to think that we would get a bit more help from our headmasters than you appear to have done but would have to think long and hard over changing schools about it. All the best to Jack in his new school and you take it easy today - OK???

Jenny in Durbs said...

I hope you are resting now & feeling a bit better. Look after yourself.
Coming from a school enviroment - primary not senior though - its very difficult with all the "rights" given to our children to search them or their bags after something has gone missing & YES things do go missing but not that often. We have a very strict policy of bringing in both sets of parents straight away & trying to deal with it immediately - although this is not always possible. We do this for all offences bullying, theft, inappropriate language behaviour etc
We confiscate any cell phone bought to school for the whole term - as we had a spate of cell phones "going missing". If a child brings a cell phone for a reason he/she drops it off at the secretary's office & collects it at the end of school - at their own risk. Seems harsh but it works & our parents are aware of all our policies before they enroll their children.
I can understand the Headmaster not returning the call but its inexcusable that the deputy or HOD didn't thats just not right. Good luck to Jack & hope he puts this behind him.

Helen Tilbury said...

I don't think I've done the best job portraying the whole picture here really. All the boys take their phones to school because the school is so disorganised that if they didn't they would often be waiting hours to be collected when plans change. If Jack's phone had been stolen & we had no idea who took it we would not have blamed the school, as there are thousands of pupils who could be the culprit. Our issue with this case is we knew who took the phone & then we got the phone back from his stepdad & STILL the school were unwilling to help us, even though the boy was trying to extort money out of Jack buy saying he could buy the phone back off him. Before the theft the same boy had started a malicious rumour about Jack & as a result Jack had been threatened regularly by the boy Jack had supposedly called names (according to the rumour...) When he had the phone he impersonated Jack & lied to the girl he was talking to (while pretending to be Jack) aswell as deleting all Jack's MXit contacts. All in all this boy has been extremely naughty & all his bad behaviour has been pointed at Jack, so we want to see this boy severely punished. This is what is not happening, all because a cell phone was at the centre of all this & it wasn't officially allowed at school.

jax said...

1. Step father too lenient on his son and putting too much blame on other boy.
2. School must get involved.
3. If not, then you must go to the Police. (otherwise no one is going to learn a lesson about consequences)
4. We have instant dismissal if caught stealing - anything - no matter what the cell phone policy.
(p.s. will try and get you on the phone again tomorrow)

Desire Fourie said...

Helen, I think once again you have handled the situation very diplomatic and as a result the culprit has been brought to light. Way to go girl ... love someone who can speak up for a change. Hugs from Desire