Someone wrote this blog post about a break-in this week at the Burbank Preschool Center, a school for children with special needs.
The district hasn’t yet provided stats on how many times people have broken into Oakland schools this year and how much they’ve taken, but it happens all too often. In fact, the break-in at Burbank followed burglaries at Grass Valley (stolen safe) and Redwood Heights (stolen computers and projectors), according to the school district’s spokesman, Troy Flint.
I don’t know who wrote the essay, posted on the “On Thoughtfulness and Randomness” blog, but you should read it. Here’s an excerpt:
I had to go there later in the day – and steeled myself walking in. District vans were parked outside the school, lots of people inside fixing things. Busy trying to make the break in go away.
Teachers were teaching. Eyes were sad, smiles forced. But children were going to lunch – teachers were helping them celebrate “super hero day” – children looked safe, happy, excited – oblivious to the damage, oblivious to the whispers of the adults. It was their school – and it was a good place to be.
The teachers made it that way – protected the children from what wasn’t right in the world. Kept their routines, listened to their stories about their costumes, worked on their colors and shapes – made the world calm, predictable, and safe. Protected the families too – told them gently, with assurance, with sympathetic smiles, with plans to make it better in the future – plans to keep the world from busting in again, stories of why everything would be OK.
The jokes started when the children were out of earshot – because that is how we all cope now. “I can’t believe they took my computer – you couldn’t give that clunker away on Craigslist!”…”I hope they didn’t take my 75 cents out of my desk – that was my mad money this week!” “Thank god they didn’t take my cube chairs – they took forever to get off of Donors Choose!” Sarcasm burying the honest disbelief of being robbed when you have next to nothing.
Why do so many of these crimes take place — and go unsolved? This has been going on for years, and we hear about plans to address the problems, yet they keep happening.
Flint said when the alarm goes off, the first call goes to the school — which is usually closed when the crime is happening. He said the Oakland schools police chief, Pete Sarna, has suggested asking the alarm company to have the initial calls go to a dispatcher instead.
Another major issue (Would-be pranksters, take note): False alarms. Flint also said there are so many that the police are sometimes slow to respond, if they do at all.