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Claremont Middle School’s $8,000 locks

By Katy Murphy
Friday, January 16th, 2009 at 7:15 pm in buildings, crime, families, middle schools, parents, safety.

Last year, a group of Claremont Middle School’s super-parents raised money for a digital media lab so that kids could learn professional video editing and animation software. They lent a good amount of creativity and elbow grease to the project, devoting weekend days before the start of school.


photo courtesy of Mike Mages

Mike Mages, one of the dads who spearheaded the project, was there when the lab opened this fall. And last month, he came running to the scene after a major break-in. Mages said thieves ripped off four of the school’s 20 new iMacs, a projector and a 52-inch LCD display just before winter break.

The thing that really bothers Mages, though, is that the theft might have been prevented. He said school administrators had requested deadbolts months before the burglary, and that they never came — well, at least until after the damage had been done.

“Literally, within an hour of the break-in, they had guys here putting locks in,” he said. “I call them the $8,000 locks.”

Now I don’t know the other side of the story, but this doesn’t sound like an unusual scenario. I suspect it’s a staffing issue, at least in part – which doesn’t bode well for the response time after the next round of budget cuts.

What will it take for OUSD to better protect its assets, and what can schools (and parents) do in the meantime?

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  • rockridge_resident

    Probably an inside job, ie, one of the students. Claremont is such a dump these days. EXAMPLE: Friday 16 Jan afternoon, a bunch of claremont kids at 3 pm beat up an innocent teenager, robbed him of his ipod, and threw him into the window of the new baby store at college and hudson. Laughing all the time.

  • Ex-OUSD staff

    Around my second year of teaching in OUSD, I figured out that the worst way to get Building and Ground’s attention was to tell your administrator that you need some work done. If you need B&G to do something, don’t rely on an administrator! Ask the school secretary to post the work order, talk to one of the B&G staff (painters, electrician, locksmith) when you see them on campus or call down to B&G yourself. As soon as I figured that out, I found out that B&G is one of the most responsive departments in the district.

  • Katy Murphy

    Some of the comments under this post have either disappeared or haven’t come up on the blog at all. I’m not sure why that is, but I’ll look ask our IT people about it tomorrow.

  • Katy Murphy

    Update: Our blog server crashed over the weekend, which most likely explains the lost comments, but everything should be back to normal. In any case, here’s a comment — posted by “Teacher” — that disappeared:

    “My principal ordered one-inch-thick plywood nailed to each and every window in my classroom after an attempted break-in to my computer lab and portable classroom. There is an metal grate over each plywooded window, maybe more for looks than security. We have an alarm system our school put in on its own (not OUSD staff) and that is apparently what stopped the burglars last year. My colleagues and I also put an iron bar and lock across our portable doors every day when we leave and take it off every morning when we come to work.

    Does it look like a jail? Hmmm, even jails have some sunlight.

    When I voiced my concern about a class without sunlight, my principal said to me “Do you want sunlight or computers?”

    I said that I prefer the computers.”

  • Harold

    is nothing sacred anymore? Schools and places of worship, should not have to have locks.

  • Nextset

    Harold – Maybe that’s true in Harold-World but here in the real world the Management of OUSD has a fiduciary duty to protect the taxpayer’s property. So OUSD building have locks and use them when the property isn’t otherwise supervised. Ditto for the Churches.

  • John

    Replace the computers with hard copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Abacus in equal numbers.

    Give the computers to OUSD kids living in places with barred doors and windows, alarm systems, and viscous (family friendly) guard dog(s). A family member on parole would be an automatic disqualifier.

    Pair kids living in high crime risk homes with those assigned computers. They could share everything, including their unassigned computer games.

    Don’t discount the importance of computer games. Related skills are increasingly essential to modern warfare and keeping the country safe for socialism. The tank and aerial combat games are particularly germane. ‘Pack Man’ for those seeking to make their fame or fortune in Oakland, but I digress…