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This morning I arrived at work to find that my classroom had been vandalized over the weekend. Our school shares the building with the Chinatown YMCA and “Chinese school,” a program for recently arrived Chinese students to help them stay connected with their culture. Apparently students from the Chinese school were found in my room lounging on our bean bag chairs, eating potato chips and soda on our reading rug. Someone found them there and ran them off, for which I’m grateful, but they neglected to check the kids bags because in one of them was — or perhaps is still — my school-issued laptop! It was locked in the closet (along with the chips and soda), but the kids found the key in the back of my desk drawer. The room itself must remain unlocked by law: in the case of a fire, the fire department is instructed to lift folks who can’t make it down the stairs from my windows, therefore the room must always be open.

Anyway, the good news is that we know who the kids are so they can be tracked down will hopefully still have the computer on them. The bad news is that last year a teacher had his school-issued computer stolen from his locked classroom but was left with the blame because he left the computer on his desk — he had to pay for the replacement himself. I don’t have $1000. I really don’t want this to be my fate. And though the Chinese school said they would pay for anything that went missing, I worry that something as significant as a computer might fall back to me, that I might be considered to negligent in some way. It doesn’t seem fair, but there’s a precedent.

The thing to remember, I suppose, is that it’s just a thing, and things can be replaced. If I have to be the one to replace it, it’s going to really hurt me financially, but I’ll recover. In, like, six years, but I’ll recover.



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