Your Phone, Your Problem

School Need Not Help with Stolen Phones

Joanna Leski, Reporter

Leaving your house unlocked, allowing strangers to come in and take your belongings would be an unthinkable action so why would you leave your phone unattended in a place where hundreds of others are ready to grab it? If your phone goes missing, no one is at blame but YOU.

Daniel Wolfe, junior, recalled the disappointment he felt when his phone went missing during school. “Nothing upset me more than knowing someone took my phone from a place it was supposed to be safe, my locked gym locker. I was really upset, but my parents were even more upset- constantly telling me to ask the school to help me find it and using my resources of the school police officer and the security cameras.” Many students are on the same page as Wolfe, and argue that school officials have more power to do more to help find lost phones.

Leyden, however, is actually not required to help students find their missing items. According to Leyden’s School Policy Handbook, “The school has no insurance to cover loss and therefore assumes no liability for lost articles, [the school] is not responsible for items missing from the student’s lockers.” The handbook also advises students to “not place expensive items in your locker, such as money, candy, tape recorders, etc.”

Since Leyden staff does not have to take responsibility for lost items, everything school officials do to help students find their phones is coming from their own interest to help, and by no means is it something they are forced to be doing. Students shouldn’t be ungrateful; Leyden offers the services that they can, but just because someone didn’t take care of something that was their own responsibility in the first place, doesn’t mean the school will be flipped upside down to find their missing phone.

The most Leyden can offer when a phone goes missing, is directing a student to the Dean’s Office. At the Dean’s Office, Officer Wnek will help the student fill out the lost or stolen property form, where the student is asked to retrace his or her steps and even name any possible suspects. Security cameras then can be used to catch the thief on tape, but this option is rarely available. “When students report a missing phone, it is most commonly lost in the bathroom or the locker rooms- both places where no security cameras are installed. In those cases the most we can do is send out a mass e-mail to the whole campus, informing the student body about the monetary reward the student can offer if the phone is returned, ” Dean of Students Mr. Michael Grosch commented.

Even if losing your property is your responsibility, the Deans at Leyden will not put up with any kind of theft. The student who is responsible for stealing the phone faces expulsion from school or even getting arrested. There are two types of theft- major theft and minor theft. Minor theft is anything below 25 dollars, while major theft is anything above those 25 dollars. If a student is traced back to stealing a phone, they can get arrested depending on the monetary value of the phone. Expulsion is also a consequence the student may face.

Dean Grosch advises, “If you find a phone, give it back to the dean’s office- no questions asked.”

Jeileen Suarez, Senior, is one of the many students who has offered a reward for the safe return of her phone. Despite her $100 offer, Suarez’s attempt at getting her phone back was unsuccessful. Suarez did everything she could and does not blame the school: “Many people don’t keep an eye out for their phones, and as a result are running into inconsiderate people who take advantage and steal them. I think the school is doing a good job with awareness, especially Grosch with all the pictures sent to our emails. I wish they could do more, but they can’t. You have to be the one being responsible.”