By Amrita Moitra:
Would you carry $600 in your backpack? The obvious answer is no. This logic, though, is contradicted constantly as teenagers bring expensive iPhones, iPads and other technology to school. However, with this privilege of bringing gadgets to schools, there comes great risk. The chance of theft and loss is extremely high. As the holiday season rolls around and teenagers are tempted to bring newly acquired presents to school, it is imperative that students keep their toys at home.
In early November, two Menlo College students were arrested for stealing backpacks that contained iPads and other electronic devices. While a security guard was able to apprehend the suspects, the retrieval of stolen items is a rare occurrence.
There is the common misconception that if a student brings an expensive item to school, everyone in the vicinity will know who the item belongs to, lowering chances of theft. However, this mentality could not be more false. In 2008, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey showed that more crimes were committed against students ages 12 to 18 at school rather than away from school. Despite this fact, a majority of the youth surveyed believed that theft would not affect them. However, these students fail to note the prevalence of theft targeting youth. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the rate of victimization by theft at school among ages 12 to 18 was 24 per 1,000 students in 2008.
This statistic is amplified when taking into consideration the rate of reported thefts. Data from the School Crime Supplement states that in 2007, only three percent of students between the ages of 12 through 18 reported theft to the police. This shows that the true theft rates among teens are much higher. Students are also disinclined to report theft and school administrators generally fail to report it. In fact, the National School Safety and Security Services has found that administrators do not report a majority of crime on school campuses to the State Board of Education or the local police, as state law suggests they do. The reasoning is very simple: some crimes are treated as violations of school rules—instead of violations of the law—and are handled through disciplinary action, instead of legal consequences. Also, many schools fear the negative public image that is associated with a high number of incidents or appearances in the media because of a school crime.
In addition to the risk of expensive gadgets getting stolen when brought to school, there are additional threats. Damage is one such danger. Without any doubt, students will pass around whatever valuable item has been brought to school. With numerous students handling this expensive object, the chances of damage, whether it is simply scratched or dropped or dirtied, is significant. The high cost of repair is not quite worth showing some friends a new toy. This is just another reason why teenagers should keep their expensive items at home.
At this time of year, students jump at the chance to bring their holiday gifts to school. While the need to show off is understandable, students must recognize the risks of doing so. Theft and damage are almost unavoidable. Though teenagers may hate to admit it, Mother truly does know best when she says to keep toys at home.