Students must be careful when bringing cellphones, iPods to school
It's about that time of year again. While I hate to see summer coming to an end, the rain and colder temperatures reminded me that fall inevitably is on its way. I also was reminded school was about to begin again by all the “Back to School” sales and advertising.
Kids going back to school mean big bills for parents who have to open their wallets for new clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies for their children. One of the best investments a parent can make? A black and silver Sharpie or other permanent marker.
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Each year numerous items wind up on the pile in the lost and found at every school. Those items would not be there if they were marked somewhere. Furthermore jackets, boots, binders, books, calculators, gym clothes, and other items that are marked are less likely to be stolen.
Probably the most stolen items, in all of the schools, are small electronic devices. It would be nice if kids could leave their electronic devices like cellphones and iPods at home, but in our world today that will not happen. Cellphones are a crucial device for many families, who depend on them for communications with their child after school.
I am not sure about your children, but my sons have gone through plenty of cellphones. There was no need getting them the latest greatest models — they needed “brick” cellphones because theirs constantly were being dropped, thrown, soaked, lost or stolen. For that reason, the majority of theirs were purchased at department stores or drug stores for $10 to $30.
My youngest son, who was given a hand-me-down phone from his brother that was supposed to be “bomb-proof,” found a way to render it useless. He even carries an extra $10 phone, still in the package, in his sea bag as he navigates around the Gulf of Mexico for college.
Students really do not need the latest 4G technology cellphone in school where they should not be used during the day anyway. If they do carry a phone to school, they should keep it turned off, but on their person. Most cellphones come up missing from lockers left unlocked or backpacks left unattended.
The same is true for any other electronic devices or jewelry. These items should be kept on the student's person whenever possible and not left in lockers or unattended backpacks.
Electronic items also should be password protected, rendering them less valuable to any would-be thief. Parents also may consider marking the electronic device using that Sharpie mentioned earlier — if it does not cause too much undue psychological trauma to your child.
One must realize there are certain items that might be rendered useless and too uncool to be seen with, if mom or dad improperly mark them. Parents must beware and must decide for themselves whether this is one of the many adolescent battles they want to wage.
Remind your students who carry laptop computers to password protect them, back up all their work to the cyber clouds or an external storage device, and never leave laptops unattended. If they are not watching their computer they should be carrying it or have it locked up somewhere.
Finally, remember to purchase and teach your child how to use locks. Padlocks will not keep the most determined thief out, but they will deter the majority of thieves. Padlocks and locked lockers also will keep most “honest” kids from entering lockers for mischief, pranks or to “borrow” from the locker’s owner.
If your child rides a bicycle to school, a good bicycle lock is an absolute must. Make sure young riders learn to carry bicycle locks with them and lock up their bikes whenever the bikes are out of their sight.
If your student rides a bicycle to school, teach them to obey the traffic laws and always wear a bicycle helmet. The bicycle helmet should be placed in their locker or backpack when not protecting the student’s noggin.
Finally before school begins, motorists should enjoy the relative ease of moving through traffic in the downtown area of Ann Arbor. Soon that will all change and pedestrians, bicycles and traffic will be everywhere. Have as much fun as the rest of the summer will allow you and, for students, I wish you the best for the coming school year.
Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.
Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for AnnArbor.com.