How to prevent theft in school classrooms?

As we all know, wherever there are children, the infamous day of arguments like “so-and-so took my…” or “that was mine” will inevitably come. This has been happening throughout history, and we have all experienced such situations in school. However, nowadays the problem is much bigger due to the phenomenon known as “bullying,” in which a group of students systematically make another student’s life miserable, which can translate into theft from that student. Furthermore, nowadays our children have more school materials of higher value than before (paints, watercolors, calculators, markers), in addition to other valuable items such as mobile phones. Hence, the problem is more significant today.

However, there’s no need to panic. It is unlikely that your child will frequently experience thefts, and if it does happen, following a set of simple preventive behaviors can put an end to such situations.

Here’s how to address each type of potential issue:


1. Preventing mobile phone theft at school

As we all know, balancing family and work life can be challenging. This is why, once we drop our children off at school, we can’t be with them throughout our workday. Sometimes our children even commute from home to school on their own.

Therefore, a mobile phone becomes a great tool for us to communicate with them, know that they’re safe, and learn how their day went. Moreover, it is a socializing element since most students nowadays have mobile phones, and not having one could risk our child feeling somewhat left out from the group.

First and foremost, it’s important to ensure that our child has a phone appropriate for their age. If they are young and in primary school, a simple, low-cost mobile phone will suffice for sending messages and making calls. There’s no need for anything more; at this age, they don’t care about brands, and just having a phone will make them happy. For example, you can check the following link to see how you can get fully functional phones for such purposes at a very affordable price. This way, in case of loss or theft, there won’t be a significant financial loss to regret.

On the other hand, if our child is older and attending high school, although it is still unnecessary for them to have the latest model of a mobile phone, at this age, young people use phones for various purposes such as games, apps, studying, and social media. So, it might be appropriate to purchase a slightly more expensive model to avoid embarrassing them in their peer group by having the cheapest phone on the market. It’s important to remember that at this age, they are less careless and have a greater sense of responsibility, so we can give them more trust.

Secondly, to prevent mobile phone theft in classrooms, it’s logical to use common sense. If it’s a young child, they should keep the phone turned off and safely stored in their backpack, only turning it on when they need to communicate with their parents. Ideally, if the backpack has an interior anti-theft pocket with a lock, it would be even more secure, as someone might try to access it in a moment of distraction or opportunity.

If it’s older students, it may be normal for them to bring their phones to recess if the rest of the students do the same and if the school allows it. In that case, it’s necessary to keep the phone under control at all times. While not in use, it should be securely stored in an inner pocket with a zipper or button, and never lend it to classmates without being present. Throughout the rest of the school day, it should be turned off or on airplane mode and kept securely in the backpack. Under no circumstances should it be left on the table.

Lastly, it is advisable to install a simple GPS tracking application. Apart from helping us know where our children are, it can be useful in case of loss as it can aid in its recovery. Furthermore, if a theft were to occur, we could determine the location of the responsible party. By reporting the incident to the school, resolving the issue and retrieving the mobile phone would be straightforward.


2. Preventing bicycle or scooter theft

It is not very common in primary schools with young children, but in certain areas, it is quite common for slightly older students in high school to commute to school by bicycle or scooter.

If your child rides a bicycle, it is essential to park it in an area near the school, whether or not there are security cameras. With teachers constantly around, it becomes challenging for theft to occur. Nevertheless, precautions should always be taken, such as securing the bicycle with a lock. This will deter any potential thief since stealing it would take time, and attempting it in a frequented location would be risky. Bicycle locks are inexpensive and offer great utility. You can check this link to see for yourself how you can purchase a good bicycle lock at a reasonable price.

As for scooters, since there are usually no designated secure parking spaces, it would be advisable to purchase a foldable model that can be stored in the school lockers.


3. Preventing theft of school supplies

The primary way to prevent your child’s school supplies from being stolen is through their own responsibility. Every student should be organized and careful with their materials. The sooner they learn this, the better. By adopting a responsible behavior of keeping the materials they need on the desk under their control and storing them once they are no longer needed, the chances of loss or theft by classmates are minimized.

If, however, your child’s school supplies are stolen, it is crucial to speak to the teacher so that they can mediate the issue in the classroom. At such young ages, it is easy to identify the culprit with a simple question from the teacher. Remember that children tend to confess everything, and even if that’s not the case, a classmate would likely immediately expose the responsible party. Don’t worry about whether this will make your child feel embarrassed or result in animosity towards them. At these ages, such situations occur frequently in schools, and it has been proven by specialists and academic experts that this is the best way to address any issues between students. Eventually, the student responsible for the theft will return the stolen materials to your child, apologize, and never repeat the behavior. That’s the end of the story.


4. Preventing theft of class notes

It is unfortunate if someone wants to bother another classmate by stealing their notes and study materials, especially during exam periods. These situations do not occur frequently, and it is quite rare for such an act to take place. It takes a considerable amount of ill will to commit such an act. However, it can happen.

To prevent these situations, it is essential for students to be responsible and take care of their notes and school books. They should maintain order in their desks by following simple principles: storing books they don’t need, keeping only the necessary materials on the desk, never leaving books and notes unattended, etc.

However, if someone intends to cause harm and steals another student’s notes, the best solution is to speak with the teachers at the school to mediate the issue. They will likely identify the culprit quickly, who will be required to apologize and return the stolen notes.

If this problem persists, it may be a good idea to take photographs of the notes with a mobile phone. This way, even if the notes are stolen, the student will still have a copy available.


5. Preventing theft of sports or extracurricular equipment

The majority of students participate in extracurricular activities that require them to bring external materials to school in order to engage in these activities after regular classes. For example, students may need to bring soccer boots, tennis rackets, musical instruments, etc. These materials have some economic value, and their loss or theft would be a serious problem.

First and foremost, it is crucial for children to be responsible and take care of their equipment. This is essential to prevent loss, damage, or theft.

If theft of this type of equipment does occur, it would be practical to speak with the class tutor. They will likely resolve the issue promptly, and your child will recover their belongings within a short period of time.


6. Preventing theft of social media profiles

Many children nowadays have social media profiles. With proper parental control and gradually according to each child’s age, the use of these digital platforms is not only negative but can actually be positive if used correctly. It is important for children to learn how to use various digital tools and technologies effectively since they will need these skills in their future careers.

However, social media platforms also come with risks, including the theft of profiles. Children can be cruel and may attempt to steal their classmates’ accounts to access private personal information or send false messages to harm or deceive other students.

To prevent the theft of social media accounts, children should understand and follow these rules from a young age:

  • Have a password on their mobile phone to prevent others from accessing the applications.
  • Use complex passwords that are difficult to guess. Avoid using addresses, phone numbers, or birthdates as passwords.
  • Never share passwords. It is impossible to predict what may happen in a relationship of trust with other students, and conflicts or misunderstandings can arise.
  • Avoid carrying written passwords to school. Anyone could find the note and act maliciously.


What to do in case of theft at school?

In the event of theft, the most reasonable course of action is to discuss the incident with the teachers at the school. They have firsthand knowledge of the classroom and the overall school environment and have extensive experience in dealing with these situations. Never try to seek justice personally, through parents, or other students based on suspicions or rumors. Teachers will likely identify the culprit quickly, recover the stolen items, and ensure that the responsible party acknowledges their actions and offers an apology.

It is important to remember that these are children, and such problems can arise at some point during the school year. It is part of the educational process for students to learn to empathize with others, understand the harm caused by certain behaviors, and develop cordial relationships with everyone.

If the origin of the theft is external to the school, and the culprit is someone from outside the class or the school (e.g., students from other classes or external children participating in extracurricular activities), it may be difficult to determine what happened. In such situations, it would be necessary to inform the parents’ WhatsApp group or hold in-person family meetings to raise awareness and take precautions to prevent further incidents.


Final Advice: Personal responsibility and the assistance of teachers are crucial

As we have seen, regardless of the specific problem, any type of theft or robbery at school can be prevented through personal responsibility of the student (maintaining order and taking care of belongings) and, in case of theft or robbery, the best way to solve the problem is by seeking help from the teachers at the educational institution.

If you found this article helpful in protecting your children from theft and robberies at school, you may also be interested in learning how to protect them on the Internet. If so, don’t miss the following article: “How to protect your children on the Internet”.