Thefts Prompt Tighter Security

Kelly Pien, Opinion Editor

The campus has been victimized by several recent incidents of theft.

Phones have been taken from locker rooms, a laptop was stolen, and some money, a few gift cards, and”smaller things” have gone missing, according to vice principal Sharon Bartlett.

In addition, backpacks left unattended in hallways and in the CPAC were rifled through, according to Bartlett. Some students’ shoes were taken from the Soda Aquatic center, according to freshman victim Grace Shi.

So far, with the help of several witnesses, one incident has been resolved, according to Bartlett.

Due to district policy, the names of students caught stealing, or involved in any disciplinary actions, can not be released.  However, at least one student has received such action.

“I believe this is a shock to all of us because we feel so safe here,” Bartlett said.

Shi said a pair of boots were stolen from her in late February or early March during a swim practice. “Everybody just leaves their stuff in there, there’s no lockers or anything, and then I came back and my shoes were gone,” she said. Shi said she was “shocked”. Shi checked the lost and found the next day to no avail. She did not report it to the swim team coaches, the Soda Aquatic Center staff, or the administration. She has still not found her boots.

According to swim coach Ron Heidary, theft is actually down at the Soda Center. “In the past, it was actually a serious problem. There were almost regular thefts. People would go through all the bags and the wallets, take cash, take phones. So it seems like it’s better this year, with the attendant,” he said.

This year, the Soda Aquatic Center employs an attendant who sits at the front desk. Heidary said, “The attendant is supposed to be watching who comes in and out, so when somebody comes in that they don’t recognize, or they know is not an athlete, then they will ask them what their business is.” Heidary also said that there are also security cameras in the walkways in front of the locker rooms.

However, according to Heidary, “kids are supposed to put their bags out on the deck. They’re not supposed to leave their stuff in the locker rooms. And they’re not supposed to bring valuables. We’ve talked to the kids about wallets and cell phones and cash. Either they should leave them in their car or in their locker, but they shouldn’t put them in their backpack, in the locker room.”

Bartlett said the administration takes the thefts seriously.  Bartlett or vice principal Scott Biezad investigates each theft report to the best of their ability. “Anything we can follow up on, we investigate,” she said.

“We are doing our best to increase supervision,” Bartlett said. “Our campus supervisor is paying particular attention to places where these things happen. P.E. teachers are encouraging kids to stow stuff safely.”

Bartlett encouraged teachers to keep their students in class and “prevent wandering.” She said, “We’re clamping down because we don’t want people in harm’s way. Let’s keep them out of suspicion for any of these bad things.”

Bartlett also encourages witnesses to come forward. “If kids would come and tell us, that would be huge,” she said.

“I feel kind of, well, obviously upset that someone took my stuff, but kind of surprised that someone takes shoes,” Shi said.