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I caught a student stealing...Long!

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  • I caught a student stealing...Long!

    A few weeks ago I was teaching a group lesson. In this group is one of my young students...we'll call her Mary, who is 11 years old. It was a very hot day here in the south and Mary was complaining that she was thirsty. I asked her if she brough her water bottle (which is something I highly stress that all students need to bring), and she mumbled something about her mom not packing it or something like that.

    In the middle of our lesson we were joined in the arena by a young boarder (we'll call her Alice..a very sensitive and moody 15 year old). All of the riders worked quite hard and were quite sweaty and hot at the end of the lesson. Mary, Alice and the other riders left the ring to put away their horses. Shortly afterwards, Mary came and sat in the viewing area outside the ring to wait for her mom to come and get her and to watch my next lesson.

    About 10 minutes later, Alice comes storming out of the barn to ask me if I had taken her water bottle out fo the fridge. I said no, and asked her what kind of bottle it was (a small Dasani bottle). As I turned around to ask the kids at ringside (including Mary) if they had "accidentally" taken a drink from the fridge (which is not a community fridge BTW), I saw Mary shove a small bluish object into her bookbag. I knew as soon as Alice asked about the water that Mary had likely taken it.

    I asked Mary point blank "Did you take a bottle of water from the fridge?"

    "No Ma'am".

    "Are you SURE?"

    "Yes ma'am."

    Alice storms back into the barn (accosting poor Mr. Jennasis along the way as to whether he's seen anyone drinking from a Dasani bottle lately).

    A few moments pass and I ask Mary if she would like to help Mr. Jennasis feed the horses. She eagerly jumps up and rushes to the barn to help...leaving her back-pack behind...unattended. Would you like to guess what I found in her bag, hidden at the botton under a bunch of clothes and some books?

    Go on...GUESS!!

    A small Dasani water bottle.

    Moments later I confront Mary. "I thought you said you didn't take a water bottle from the fridge?" (as I wave the bottle in front of her.)

    Her eyes widen (not with fear....it was more like..Crap, I've been caught!). "Ummmmm...."

    "You know this wasn't yours. And I KNOW you didn't bring water today because you were complaining before."

    "Yes Ma'am."

    "A mistake is a mistake Mary, but LYING to me is so much worse. This is SO not acceptable. Go sit and wait for your mom."

    "Yes Ma'am."

    At this point my blood begins to boil. This is NOT the first time that Mary has helped herself to stuff that does not belong to her from the refridgerator. She had been caught twice before by boarders taking THEIR drinks from the fridge. She has also taken soda from our soda machine without paying (it accidentally dispensed two sodas once when another kid put money in and she took it and lied to Mr. Jennasis who saw the whole thing by saying she had just put money in and it never gave her HER soda). She also told another boarder to unlock the soda machine because Mrs. Jennasis said she could have a free soda! Riiiight...

    She is also a bully...ordering the other kids in her lesson around and having them do her work (putting away tack...fetching her horse from the field). That's a whole "nuther story.

    Naturally, Mary's mom didn't pick her up that day, her grandma did. I waited until the following week to tell her mom since I wanted to do it face-to-face. I got mom aside alone and told her about the incident (and all the other times as well). Mom never blinked after I recounted the story, simply saying to me "Yeah...Mary mentioned it to me."

    No mention of punishment...no apology. NOTHING! I'm pretty angry, but I have decided that the punishment I will be doling out is that Mary is not going to be invited to be a student helper at all this summer (as she had previously announced to me that she wanted to do).

    I'm relatively sure, based on Mom's non-reaction to the story that I will likely lose this student as a result of my punishment, but I am OK with that. Frankly so are the other parents of my other students. They don't like her pushy, rude, bullying ways with their kids.

    I was right...right?
    Remember...though eagles may soar, weasles never get sucked into a jet engine.

    Soar like a weasle my friend.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    A few weeks ago I was teaching a group lesson. In this group is one of my young students...we'll call her Mary, who is 11 years old. It was a very hot day here in the south and Mary was complaining that she was thirsty. I asked her if she brough her water bottle (which is something I highly stress that all students need to bring), and she mumbled something about her mom not packing it or something like that.

    In the middle of our lesson we were joined in the arena by a young boarder (we'll call her Alice..a very sensitive and moody 15 year old). All of the riders worked quite hard and were quite sweaty and hot at the end of the lesson. Mary, Alice and the other riders left the ring to put away their horses. Shortly afterwards, Mary came and sat in the viewing area outside the ring to wait for her mom to come and get her and to watch my next lesson.

    About 10 minutes later, Alice comes storming out of the barn to ask me if I had taken her water bottle out fo the fridge. I said no, and asked her what kind of bottle it was (a small Dasani bottle). As I turned around to ask the kids at ringside (including Mary) if they had "accidentally" taken a drink from the fridge (which is not a community fridge BTW), I saw Mary shove a small bluish object into her bookbag. I knew as soon as Alice asked about the water that Mary had likely taken it.

    I asked Mary point blank "Did you take a bottle of water from the fridge?"

    "No Ma'am".

    "Are you SURE?"

    "Yes ma'am."

    Alice storms back into the barn (accosting poor Mr. Jennasis along the way as to whether he's seen anyone drinking from a Dasani bottle lately).

    A few moments pass and I ask Mary if she would like to help Mr. Jennasis feed the horses. She eagerly jumps up and rushes to the barn to help...leaving her back-pack behind...unattended. Would you like to guess what I found in her bag, hidden at the botton under a bunch of clothes and some books?

    Go on...GUESS!!

    A small Dasani water bottle.

    Moments later I confront Mary. "I thought you said you didn't take a water bottle from the fridge?" (as I wave the bottle in front of her.)

    Her eyes widen (not with fear....it was more like..Crap, I've been caught!). "Ummmmm...."

    "You know this wasn't yours. And I KNOW you didn't bring water today because you were complaining before."

    "Yes Ma'am."

    "A mistake is a mistake Mary, but LYING to me is so much worse. This is SO not acceptable. Go sit and wait for your mom."

    "Yes Ma'am."

    At this point my blood begins to boil. This is NOT the first time that Mary has helped herself to stuff that does not belong to her from the refridgerator. She had been caught twice before by boarders taking THEIR drinks from the fridge. She has also taken soda from our soda machine without paying (it accidentally dispensed two sodas once when another kid put money in and she took it and lied to Mr. Jennasis who saw the whole thing by saying she had just put money in and it never gave her HER soda). She also told another boarder to unlock the soda machine because Mrs. Jennasis said she could have a free soda! Riiiight...

    She is also a bully...ordering the other kids in her lesson around and having them do her work (putting away tack...fetching her horse from the field). That's a whole "nuther story.

    Naturally, Mary's mom didn't pick her up that day, her grandma did. I waited until the following week to tell her mom since I wanted to do it face-to-face. I got mom aside alone and told her about the incident (and all the other times as well). Mom never blinked after I recounted the story, simply saying to me "Yeah...Mary mentioned it to me."

    No mention of punishment...no apology. NOTHING! I'm pretty angry, but I have decided that the punishment I will be doling out is that Mary is not going to be invited to be a student helper at all this summer (as she had previously announced to me that she wanted to do).

    I'm relatively sure, based on Mom's non-reaction to the story that I will likely lose this student as a result of my punishment, but I am OK with that. Frankly so are the other parents of my other students. They don't like her pushy, rude, bullying ways with their kids.

    I was right...right?
    Remember...though eagles may soar, weasles never get sucked into a jet engine.

    Soar like a weasle my friend.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would sit the girl down and tell her you have lied and done this, this and this so as a result I am not going to allow you to be a student helper. If your attitude improves then I will consider you for next year but if it does not then .....

        I think you are right on and I would not tolerate this kind of behavior. As a matter of fact in a lesson if I have a kid that acts in any way that I don't like then they get the dreaded no stirrups and rising trot treatment. And I do make it clear that it was because of something they did.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think digging through her belongings was inappropriate, BUT I also think you are absolutely correct to handle the situation otherwise as you have done. Sounds to me like the little girl has a self-esteem problem - it's too high. Selfishness and lack of consideration for others should not be rewarded.
          "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh

          Comment


          • #6
            Absolutely right. I can't stand kids that lie. Of course, judging by her mother's reaction, it was not a "big deal" in her book-perhaps she is an enabler

            You may lose a student, you may not. Bet you could replace her with a hard working HONEST kid this summer

            -Amy

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes you did the right thing. And Mom will pay in the long run for her nonchalance...stick to your guns.
              Can you stress-fracture your brain?

              Comment


              • #8
                <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> I would sit the girl down and tell her you have lied and done this, this and this so as a result I am not going to allow you to be a student helper. If your attitude improves then I will consider you for next year but if it does not then .....

                I think you are right on and I would not tolerate this kind of behavior. As a matter of fact in a lesson if I have a kid that acts in any way that I don't like then they get the dreaded no stirrups and rising trot treatment. And I do make it clear that it was because of something they did. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                Completely agreed. While your punishment seems right on-target, giving "Mary" an incentive for improvement may help her behavior.
                "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

                Comment


                • #9
                  you are right. if you loose the student... fine. you don't need a student like that, or her parents for that matter.
                  good for you!
                  Dreaming in Color

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yup. Hope the Mom pulls the kid. You don't need that.
                    Chronicles of the $700 Pony
                    The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
                    www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes and no.

                      If you had to open her bag to get the bottle, you are in the wrong. Sorry

                      Now with that said I most likly would have done the same thing looking for the bottle. Not that it was right, but still. Now the only thing I would have done differntly is when she can for her lessons with her mom and the mother acted like she did. Then I would have told her that MARY was no longer welcome on our farm and would not be riding today.
                      My life motto now is "You can't fix stupid!"

                      Are you going to cowboy up, or lie there and bleed

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Fire the student. It might seem extreme, but it will hopefully leave an impression in her young brain. She's at just the right age for a big correction.

                        When I was about that age I stole some barrettes from a store. My mother told me I would have to go back to the store, fess up publicly and pay for them. I whined and cried, and she picked up the phone to call the police. VERY dramatic impression.

                        Sit Mary down with her mother and tell her that you're very sorry, but she's revealed herself to be untrustworthy, and you can't have people who won't take responsibility. Don't back down. Don't take her back if she agrees to be good. This is a harsh lesson that she needs to learn NOW, before she gets any older and is allowed to continue to think that this behavior is acceptable.
                        Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think you're right for not allowing her to be a helper since she has repeated offenses.

                          Though I probably would have called the parents that night so Mary would have known it was a big deal. The longer it went unmentioned, the more she might think it was nothing.

                          Tell the other kids *they* can decide if they want to help Mary or not. (I had one little girl who would happily help others out, she was a very kind soul. I also think she enjoyed just being around the barn & horses. )

                          Did you ever offer Mary a cup so she can fill it with water from the barn hose??? Then she wouldn't have to steal drinks. I never deny any living thing water.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You have no backup in Mom (URGH)Not much you can do than what you proposed...


                            Parents these days! My DS would hold his britches for a week if above incidents where brought to my attention!
                            Originally posted by BigMama1
                            Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                            GNU Terry Prachett

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I DID wonder about "digging through her things". However since I had seen her stuff an object into her bag that looked much like a blue water bottle, I figured I had what the police call "reasonable suspicion". (is that the word I want?? When they can search you or your car if they have a good faith belief they'll find something?)


                              We also have cups available..and a very clean bathroom sink!

                              Anywho...I will be having a talk with Mary.
                              Remember...though eagles may soar, weasles never get sucked into a jet engine.

                              Soar like a weasle my friend.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Yes, she lied and took something that did not belong to her, which was wrong. But you did not have the right to go through her bag- that was completely inappropriate.

                                I can't help thinking that there is some reason why she takes other people's drinks and not other things (books, sweaters, etc.) Does her mom always forget to bring her drinks to the barn? Could you ask that all parents of group lesson students chip in for a case of bottled water/sodas so they'd be available after lessons?

                                I'd give her another chance- put her on "probation" and tell her that she won't be a summer helper if this continues, but don't immediately take that job away from her.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  i think you had every right to go through her bag.
                                  Dreaming in Color

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I think digging through her belongings was inappropriate </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                    Yupo. It's a matter of trust and you've now lost your bargaining chip. It's all a matter of leverage. Two wrongs don't make it right.

                                    Also, is she just pilfering drinks and food? Bossiness and behavior aside, perhaps there's a REASON she's stealing this stuff. She needs to apologize to the person she stole from and make it right. Nothing more humbling than having to square off with your peers.

                                    Why aren't her parents providing these things? THAT concerns me the most at this point.
                                    =*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
                                    ~Jilltx~

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      We DO have a soda machine. $0.50/can.

                                      She has LIED to me and other students about things in the past. So I'm not sure the stealing is the biggest problem. She usually does bring a drink with her.

                                      So riddle me this, Batman...If going through her bag was not a good move, what should I have done? Which was the bigger transgression? I DO acknowledge that going through her bag was improper, but what else could I do...I saw her put the bottle in there!
                                      Remember...though eagles may soar, weasles never get sucked into a jet engine.

                                      Soar like a weasle my friend.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Since this is not the first occasion she has stolen something I would have said she is no longer welcome, in any capacity. She has a history of dishonesty, next time it may be a saddle or other item of value. Losing a student like her is no big deal IMO, you are protecting your other students and boarders.

                                        Comment

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