Stolen! An inside look at Wilson thieving

Harper Dunn and Anya Herzberg

We all have experienced the feeling of leaving something behind, panicking, and quickly returning to the spot where it was left. Sometimes upon return, however, it’s nowhere to be found. Those AirPods they had spent their savings on, or the iPhone X they had just upgraded to, disappeared with a blink of an eye. Between the expensive items that students carry around school and the hundreds of kids filtering through hallways, classrooms, and bathrooms every day, it’s not unusual for something to be stolen at Wilson.

Pathways Coordinator Angelo Hernandez often deals with student discipline and behavioral consequences. “Majority, I would say 65 percent of the time, it’s an error on the person,” he said. When stealing occurs, Hernandez and other administrators try to recover the item. “It usually gets reported, people fill out a security report. And then we review camera footage and see what we can come up with,” explained Hernandez.

Sometimes, camera footage is not available, which makes the process much more difficult. “Some phones are left in the stalls [of bathrooms] and people come back and thought it was there and it’s just not there,” Hernandez said. In these scenarios, most of the time, nothing can be done to get the item back.

Administrators refer to Chapter 25 of DCPS student discipline policies when deciding consequences for theft. Tier four of this policy states that in-school theft results in off-site suspension, the length of the suspension varying on the severity of the crime.

Stealing doesn’t always occur with expensive belongings. One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “a girl took all of my work out of my notebook, erased my name, and put it in her notebook. Though the actual notebook was not worth much, the student’s grade was brought down substantially as a result of the theft.

Though it feels terrible to get something of yours stolen, usually it is an avoidable situation. “If something gets stolen it’s your own fault,” said sophomore Danilo Bajestic. Hernandez agreed, saying, “it is very rare that somebody is going to jack somebody up and take something from you.”

It may be avoidable, but sometimes even letting up your guard for one second leads to a stolen item. This happened to freshman Kai Christie, when his phone was stolen in the auditorium. “It wasn’t kind, and I feel like I should go to a school where I shouldn’t have to worry about that,” he said.

Wilson has a large theft scene, and while stolen goods are often retrieved, the topic is rarely addressed. Junior Maddie Gold agreed. “Stealing is something no one addresses, but it’s still a problem that Wilson needs to talk about,” she said. Overall, Wilson is full of students eager to snag a valuable item without consequences. Both staff and students have heard of or been the victim of stealing within Wilson.

So, make sure that you have your belongings with you at all times, because you never know what might get stolen next.