This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stealing and dealing?

If you remember the stolen cell phone that I mentioned here, We had left it up to the school to do the detective work and consequences because we I get tired of being the bad guy.

So far no one has claimed the cell phone (although Bear did tell me someone had claimed it - presumably to end this). Beyond confirming that it hadn't actually been claimed, I haven't been able to get much out of the school.

They investigated how many Michaels there were at the school (8), but they didn't bother to tell Bear he had to find out the kid's last name or anything very proactive. Bear told us that the kid didn't want the phone back and that's why he hadn't claimed it. He said Michael's mom made Michael carry it and he didn't want it. Can you say "bull puckey?"

The last day of school is Friday, so I was pushing really hard to get this resolved. I finally got an e-mail from the Assistant Principal on Wednesday.
As for the phone, I've got a call in to Deputy A_____ {officer on duty at the school} to see if the phone matches any reported missing/stolen. At present, the information we have has not been enough to track down the owner. But without it being reported stolen, it is difficult to consequence him for stealing. There needs to be a victim for there to have been a crime, so I'm working to see if we can identify a victim.
Unless I find one though, I'm not in a position to consequence him; the consequence for a stolen cell phone is a placement at the Opportunity Center {like in school suspension, but on a closed campus with other kids who have broken a major school rule - like fighting, bringing drugs to school, bringing weapons to school... you know, all the kids I want Bear hanging out with}, so it is a big step and one that deserves more facts and
careful consideration.
If I find out more, I'll pass it along. I hope to connect with Officer A______ soon, but I don't know if he'll have anything to share or not.

I'm still furious that they did not pursue this - such as telling Bear that he HAD to tell the school the boy's last name or charging the phone. I responded with:

Since the cell phone is a “victim-less” crime, and therefore the school cannot go forward with any consequences, we would like to pick the phone up to get it charged and see if we can track down the owner ourselves. Please let me know when this would be possible.

This morning we came upon Bear when he wasn’t expecting us to be home (we had to leave him home alone for the first time in quite awhile, but came back to grab the camera for Ponito's award ceremony). We noticed Bear had a pair of handcuffs on the counter. Since we had allowed him to hang out with a friend of the family who has shown poor judgment in giving Bear things (the boy who gave Bear the pop gun to fix that Bear took to school to trade for drugs a couple of Summers ago), we checked with the boy. The boy had loaned them to Bear. I sent Bear with Grandma to return the handcuffs.

This meant that Bear was not able to take his usually permanently attached backpack with him so I had an opportunity to search it and his room (Bear no longer hides things in his room because he knows I search, but cannot stand to throw anything away which explains some of the things I find).

I found:
1. Two sample bottles of ADHD meds (the equivalent of speed) that he must have taken from our bathroom. Each bottle had a week's worth of meds. Luckily all the pills were still there, although some were in a small bag in another pocket. This is the med we had stopped, because it had caused Bear to have an adverse reaction a few weeks ago {jittery and manic}. One bottle was wrapped in his hat in his backpack, the other in his inside jacket pocket with the bag of pills.
2. Also in the small bag – 2 tabs of Melatonin which is an over the counter sleep aide and 150mg of Lamictal which is a black box mood stabilizer - there is a possibility that Bear thought the Lamictal was Melatonin and that’s why he hadn’t taken it. He has had issues with refusing to take the Melatonin in the past, and keeping them somewhere in his room.
3. Hair in his trash can. Bear told us that someone in ROTC (I don’t remember if it was the Sergeant or the SRO) told him if he didn’t have his hair cut by uniform check that Thursday that they would buzz it. He claimed they had. I spoke to someone in the ROTC, and they said they had not cut it. If you haven’t seen Bear recently he was shaved completely bald last Thursday. Obviously Bear cut it himself and lied about it.
4. Also in his backpack I found an industrial box cutter, the kind you can extend the blade from with a push of a button. We assume it was a weapon, as he has had issues with this in the past.
5. Miscellaneous contraband (not illegal, just not allowed in our house or in his room).
6. When we searched Bear, we discovered an iPod Shuffle 2G – green. Definitely not his. We assume it was stolen at school.
7. He did have time to hide almost anything once he knew I was looking (after the initial search). So he could have had something on his person or I missed something.

Obviously we need to know if anyone at school has reported the loss of an iPod Shuffle.

Bear is now under line of sight supervision, but we are not sure what consequences to give. As always, advice/suggestions are appreciated.

Hubby came home early from work and confronted Bear (who was holing up in his room to pout and avoid the community service I had arranged with a neighbor). Hubby ordered Bear to strip (down to underwear) to look for contraband, and had a long conversation with him.

 Bear claimed the box cutter was to protect himself from a kid at school. He claimed he took the ADHD meds to school because he'd been having trouble sleeping and wanted some extra energy for exams, but decided not to take it because the drug presentations he was working on in school were "getting through to him" and he didn't want to do anything like that anymore.

He then confessed to using and dealing drugs over 2 years ago before he entered the RTC. It is pretty typical for him to confess to things that happened so long ago that he can't be given consequences now. I think he hopes it will distract people from what is going on currently and even give him "brownie points" for being "truthful."

He claims he took the bottles the morning before when I was downstairs. I'm a bit of a packrat and tend to hang onto meds in case we alter doses in the future, run out, or one of the other kids is prescribed them later. The box the bottles came in didn't fit in the lock box (which wasn't locked anyway and was full - the kids take a lot of meds!). The box is in my bathroom, which can only be accessed through my bedroom, which our Bear is NEVER allowed to go in (because he's stolen things from our room before).

Luckily, today was the last day of school, only a half day, and Bear had finals to take, so apparently he wasn't able to sell or trade them. The pills were all still there. I don't think he got into anything else in my room.*sigh* One more thing to lock up.

I'm an idiot.

I don't know if I ever wrote a follow-up post about this, but the school eventually returned the cell phone to "Michael." I asked them if they'd confirmed any of the other info Bear had given them (the boy had a sister playing on JV, his mom made him carry the phone, he'd left it in Bear's coat pocket vs Bear having stolen/ borrowed it...). The AP just stared at me, and admitted it had never occurred to him. *sigh* I guess it doesn't really make a difference in the long run.

A post about how we later handled
Lying and Stealing 


waldenbunch said...

You are not an idiot. You are in the middle of a situation that never seems to get better. All I can say is hold on to hope and miracles. They do and can happen, just won't be today. Try to remember it's not your fault and you're trying to be part of the solution. Then realize you can't change anyone but yourself. You will get through this.

Anonymous said...

Super big thank you for the blog. The crazytrain of school, not fun. I have a RADish in HS. Similar regarding "found" property. 30gig ipod etc. Stealing $. Would lie when the truth would do a better job. Hard when school seems less interested in consequence. Makes the parents always seem like we are being overreactive. School admin can be sometimes lazy unequipped and confined by red tape. Frustrating to say the least and our RADish is always in top form over holidays. Hang in there.

marythemom said...

Clovebarros - I was hoping to get to know you from your blog (hard to find other parents of RAD teens!), but it wouldn't let me comment.

Merry Christmas and thanks for the comment! I hope to get to know you better.


Miz Kizzle said...

I love the idea of a school for bad kids being called an "Opportunity Center." It's largely because of this type of idiotic P.C. jargon that public schools are in the mess that they're in.