Stealing to Make Up for Own Loss

June 21, 2007 at 3:36 pm | Posted in education, elementary, inner city, poverty | 2 Comments

At the end of the school day as students lined up to go out, I noticed one of my students (not one I spoke of before) looking furtive.  Another student came up to me to mention that A____ took J_____’s shoes.

Background Information

Our school has extremely high rate of poverty.  Every once in awhile, our school gets a large donation of shoes (thanks to the hard work of our attendance counselor) and every student receives shoes.  We picked up our shoes yesterday, but J_____ was absent yesterday and today.

The Conversation

So I gently asked A_____ to give back the shoes.  He did, though he seemed upset.  He’s never taken anything like this before.  I asked him why he took the shoes.  “I don’t know,” came the sad answer, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”  I asked him where his shoes were and didn’t he receive a pair yesterday.  “My uncle took them.”  Whoa!

The Uncle

Turns out, the uncle was near A____’s age and size.  The uncle went to another school so didn’t get a new pair of shoes.  He needed a pair, so the family gave A____’s shoes to his uncle.

Sigh.  Like I said, this is unusual behavior for him.  He just wanted a new pair of shoes like everyone else.  In fact, he wanted his pair.  He didn’t really want J___’s pair.

Luckily, I had an extra pair of shoes because one of my boys left the school.  I gave them to A_____ and told him that his family couldn’t give these to someone else.  The shoes were too big, but he could trade them for an appropriately sized pair at Payless Shoe Source.

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2 Comments »

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  1. I think you handled it well! My heart breaks when I read stuff like this. I hate the way poverty affects people and their actions. Did you speak with the family about this? Although, it probably would have done or meant nothing to them. I hope they exchange them for the right sizes for him.

  2. Breaks my heart as well. I am thankful that you had an extra pair of shoes, but probably not nearly as thankful as that little boy.


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