At the Academy, there is no such thing as a locked locker. Backpacks containing laptops, calculators, and textbooks are thrown haphazardly around classroom doors, while valuable  instruments lean carelessly against walls. On the surface, such behavior seems to be the product of a safe community. For a variety of reasons, students believe that theft only happens at other schools. This view is bolstered by the mass email sent out before many events where the Academy has visitors: “Lock up your belongings. Someone might actually steal them.” The only e-mail worse than that is the one that comes shortly after. Students, upon discovering that their belongings have been stolen, cry out in protest. An administrator asks, “Well, did you lock your locker?” and the answer is almost always an embarrassed “no.” This current mindset of thinking that theft is not a danger at the Academy is wrong and we should change it to one of greater caution.

The general attitude could be described as classist. The “us” versus “them” mentality is not only questionable, it teaches the wrong idea. Students are conditioned to think that other Academy students are inherently good and privileged and that good people don’t steal; thieves are “bad, underprivileged people” and come from other schools. Recent incidents of shoplifting from Academy bookstores, in which students stole granola bars just for entertainment, indicate otherwise. Theft is not a problem unique to the world off-campus.

This atmosphere does not prepare an Academy student for life beyond the campus fence. It seems unwise to most people for someone to leave valuables in his car, or a phone on the table while she uses the restroom. Although this mindset is intuitive to some Academy students, most have to be reminded by campus security to appropriately secure their valuables. Students at high school and college campuses alike should know not to leave anything valuable unlocked. Meanwhile, Academy students must graduate and begin new lives in college dorms, where they often learn that lesson the hard way.

It would be ridiculous to imply that the students at this school should trust each other less, or place more trust in students from other schools. Instead, faculty and students alike should encourage a general attitude of greater caution. Students must learn that they are responsible for their belongings and realize that theft is preventable. Theft does not happen because other schools visit—it happens because it is a crime of opportunity, and at the Academy, the opportunity is always present.

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