High School

High school staffer allegedly steals cash from locker; student punished after sting

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A video sting from students at a Chicago-area high school appeared to show a staff member stealing from a student’s locker – but when students tried to identify the culprit last week, at least one was punished.

Police were looking into the video, which apparently was recorded with a cell phone from inside a locker at Evanstown Township High School, The Chicago Tribune reported. A statement from the school said “appropriate actions” would be taken “as more details become available.”

But so far, the only actions taken have come against one of the sleuthing students.

Noah McKay, 17-year-old junior, said he and friends organized a protest to try to get the staff member fired. Police did not identify the worker.

“Me and my friend were pretty upset and we stayed on the phone until 3 a.m. last night trying to figure out what to do, so we made a flier – a picture of the guy in the video taking stuff,” McKay told the Tribune.

The reward for catching the crook? A one-day in-school suspension, according to 17-year-old junior Malachi Clark. He said the school also threatened to cancel senior activities, such as prom, for other students involved.

“They said they were suspending me for distribution of harassing materials – something along those lines – because of the flier I created and distributed with my friends,” Clark said. “I also got in trouble for cyber bullying because of a lack of an indictment (against the staff member allegedly involved).”

Evanston Police Cmdr. Joe Dugan said the video appears authentic, and police know the identity of the person allegedly shown taking money. But Dugan said the person who took the video needs to come forward for charges to be pressed.

“We’re talking about a criminal investigation,” Dugan said.

Clark said somebody previously had stolen cash from his locker as well, and the issue has long plagued the school.

“I know probably around 10 or 15 people who have had money or other items taken from their lockers that were locked…it’s been freshman year to junior year, it’s been a wide array of occurrences that’s been going on for awhile,” Clark said.

McKay said the school’s response has been underwhelming.

“People have been complaining and reporting their stuff stolen and really the security officers will say, ‘Did you lock your locker’ or this and that, or just tell us they’ll do anything they can to get out stuff back, but that hasn’t happened,” McKay said.