One morning into the Deans’ Office walked a young woman talking broken English to me like she knew me , like she had business with me . Had I made an appointment with a kid’s mother and forgotten all about it ? I wondered .
(Well , nowadays , that’s what I routinely do ; but in those days I would have been upset with myself for being so negligent and/or forgetful ). Do I have an appointment with you ? , I asked .
No. She was not the mother of the kid but his older sister . Twenty -five ? A bit older ? He stole my ipod , she told me . Yeah , from their home .
And why is this my business ? I thought to myself . But , hey , I’ll try to help her out . I’m the school Dean . I sent a student helper to bring the kid in from his classroom . Make sure he has all his belongings with him , I said .
As we waited the young woman told me her sad tale . The twelve -year old brother had stolen from her . Again . And why is this my problem ? I couldn’t help wondering . But , hey , we’ll see what we can do .
When he came in I looked at him and motioned to the sister . Do you know her ? Yeah , he said . She’s my sister .
She says you took her ipod.
The little kid launched into a passionate denial . She’s my sister ! She’s family ! , he declared . I would never ……………… He spelled it out at length with a sincerity that would fool most people ; would have melted their hearts . Poor misunderstood kid ! He almost worked himself into tears . Wow ! Poor guy .
I searched his pockets and his backpack ( as was my right as the school Dean . Probable cause not needed in a school situation , just reasonable cause needed .) I had reasonable cause : his sister was accusing him ; he had stolen from her before ; she had come all the way over to the school to get her ipod back .
Nothing in his pockets . Nothing in the backpack . Maybe he had stashed it with a friend or in a secret place . Maybe . Maybe the upset sister was mistaken . Maybe .
I took the kid into my little cubicle office for a minute . Two chairs and my cluttered desk . Take off your shoes, I told him . He did . No complaints . He was wearing what we used to call loafers . I looked down at his shoes .
What’s that ? I said.
Ipod , he said . It was right there .
Whose is it ? I said .
Hers , he said .
I handed the stolen item to the sister and she left the office . I sent the kid back to class. Another day in the Dean’s Office . Good guess , Dan , I thought to myself . Now on to , perhaps , some school-based problems .