Courtesy of Shannon Watridge
On Monday, March 2, a pair of Apple AirPods, $15 in cash and some cosmetics were stolen from sophomore Helena Janku. The items were swiped from the girls’ locker room during her fifth period Physical Education (P.E.) class. It was not the first time her personal items were taken out of her P.E. locker, for Janku has experienced theft before. During her freshman year, her Hydroflask water bottle was stolen and later found vandalized with a permanent marker.
“I felt violated and completely taken advantage of,” Janku said. “[Theft] is a constant [occurrence], and I just started paying attention. I’m sure other people have had stuff stolen in the past.”
Janku does not know who stole her items, but she recognizes theft as an ongoing issue on campus. Janku believes that one reason for the upward trend in theft is because it is easy to steal without getting caught, especially in places that are not under surveillance like locker rooms.
“[Students think], ‘They got away with it, so I am sure I could too. What’s the harm if everyone’s doing it, right?’” Janku said.
Janku is not the only victim of these culprits’ actions. At the beginning of the second semester, Sophomore Hannah Hoppe transferred from Marin Catholic High School to Redwood. Within her first two weeks, Hoppe discovered several missing items from her backpack in the girls’ locker room. According to Hoppe, around $150 along with some cosmetics were stolen from her backpack during P.E.
“Everything was in my locker, but when I came back from P.E., I [said], ‘I don’t remember having my pencil pouch and my binder out,’” Hoppe said. “But then I connected the dots.”
Many students, including Hoppe, are forced to leave their belongings outside their lockers because the standard sizes are too small to fit everything. Despite students’ efforts to ensure all their personal belongings are safely stored away, many thieves invade students’ backpacks or open lockers in search of valuable items.
“Who has the audacity to go and look through all the unlocked lockers and make the extra effort of going into people’s bags?” Hoppe said.
Sophomore, Nancy Raga, reported experiencing the same issue. Raga’s locker is too small for her backpack, so she uses a separate open locker to fit the rest of her items. When it comes to protecting her personal belongings, however, Raga feels unsettled about leaving items in a vacant locker.
“When I am worried about getting my stuff stolen, I cannot relax. It just stresses me out even more than school does, and I have to focus in school,” Raga said.
Not only does theft create stress for students, but, according to Janku, this issue negatively affects the level of trust in the Redwood community.
“[Theft] creates a divide among students. If one person steals, it sets off a chain reaction and then you are going to have a group of students who are not comfortable around each other,” Janku said.
Similar to Janku, Raga believes that school should be an honest climate for students.
“You want to make sure your stuff is safe and you want to think of school as a secure, trustworthy social environment,” Raga said.