Administration perspective: Crime on campus
Among the more prevalent crimes at MVHS is theft. This includes the theft of belongings in the locker room and theft of bikes in the bike rack. If theft does occur, the administration must receive a written report of what happened — in many cases, the solution is as easy as the person responsible apologizing and returning the items stolen.
But sometimes, the administration can’t do much to help, if they don’t know who committed the crime or that person does not admit that they stole. In these cases, the administration tries their best to gather information and ask around the school to find the person responsible in order to administer the appropriate consequences.
However, there are times when the administration can’t do anything but watch as students lose their prized possessions. As hard as that may be, the administration has no choice but to let the matter fade away.
Though the administration tries their best to punish and prevent crimes committed by students, there are times when the admin cannot. According to Principal April Scott, from the time that you step out of the house in the morning to the time you step back into the house in the evening, you are MVHS’ responsibility. If a student commits a petty crime in their access and egress from school, the administration has the power to provide consequences for that action. However, power only extends to during or very close to school hours.
And in many instances the consequence or punishment applied to the wrongdoer is unique to the crime itself.
“There’s the school consequence; you violated another person’s belongings [theft], and you’ve taken something that doesn’t belong to you. Which is in violation of what we want to have happen, as a safe school,” Scott said. “But then there’s the penal code. The penal code says you can’t steal, and now you’re potentially facing consequences with the sheriff. And those two typically run fairly parallel, sometimes there are just school consequences, sometimes there are no school consequences and just the sheriff gets involved and other times it’s both.”
Theft in the locker room and at the bike racks arise every year — leaving things open and unlocked makes items in the locker room and bikes easy items to steal.
Scott advises students to make sure all of their belongings are locked up as much as possible. She says that even taking valuables out of your backpack and putting them in a locker and always being aware of your belongings is an effective way to prevent theft.
Another tip that Scott provides is related to keeping your bike secure. If students secure and lock their bikes and register these bikes with the city, there will be a decrease in bike thefts at the bike racks. If your bike is stolen and recovered by the police, the registration number will enable the police to return the bike to its rightful owner.
Student Advocate Richard Prinz also reiterates the same points to students. While the school is responsible for their safety and will try their hardest to find the person responsible for the crime, it is also the student’s responsibility to keep everything secured to avoid giving potential thieves the opportunity to commit crime.
“Don’t give people the temptation,” Prinz says. “Don’t leave things around. Don’t make it easy for somebody [to steal].”
Even though there are people who steal at MVHS, there are also plenty of people who do the right thing and turn in items that were left behind and lost.
“We have some incredibly honest people that are turning in iPhones, that are turning in laptops, on a regular basis, turning in some very valuable things to us,” Scott said. “Which is obviously the right thing to do… They’ll find money and turn it into us, which, how do you ever know who the money belonged to, but pretty amazing things.”