Incident at my daughter's school

I’m not sure what I want out of this thread. Maybe just to tell the story, or hear what other’s think.

My daughter, a senior in high school, was heading to her car around 4:30 yesterday. When she gets near her car, she notices someone in it going through her stuff. She yells something like “hey what are you doing” (she thought it might be a friend, and yes, we talked about better ways to handle this kind of situation). A guy in his late 20s, early 30s, gets out of the car, looks at her and starts walking away. He looks over his shoulder at her and then starts running.
She gets in the car and drives to the front of the school, maybe 100 yards. The principal is standing out front and she tells him she just caught a guy in her car and shows which way he ran. This is the part that bothers me. The principal says to come to his office in the morning and they’ll file a report when the safety officer (an actual cop) is in. He then tells her to park closer in the future.

Am I over reacting to think that when a young girl finds a guy in her car, on school property, and immediately tells the principal, he should have called 911? Maybe if it was some kids, or she got there after the fact I could see waiting (he didn’t get anything as far as we know).

He did call me today along with the safety officer. His reasoning was that the guy already left, the safety officer was already gone, and there would be heavy traffic for the police to deal with. I told him I respectfully disagreed, and that when kids are confronted with adult criminals on school property, the police should be immediately notified. In addition, you might want to tell the parents that there is a guy entering vehicles on school property. Of course, after the fact nothing can be done, but am I off base here?

To be fair, he did call me, was very receptive to my complaints, did not argue with me, and wasn’t a jerk or anything, but I feel he seriously dropped the ball on this one.
What also bugs me is my daughter had a good description, and where the guy ran provided few hiding places.

That’s mainly it. The rest of the story is that I found out about it an hour after it happened (I’m currently working out of state), called the police non-emergency number, was on hold for about 25 minutes, got an officer on the line who was absolultely astonished that no one (including my daughter) called 911. He highly recommened that I complain to the school.

So, there you go. Over reacting parent, or dumbass principal?

Lazy principal.

In my opinion, dumbass principal.

In the principal’s place, in the city where I live, I would not have called 911, because that should be reserved for emergencies, i.e., situations with current and imminent danger. I would however have almost certainly called the non-emergency police number to file a report.

The principle gets a pass from me on this one. His reasoning is sound.

Dumbass principal.

I’d certainly call 911, because the crime happened mere minutes ago. There’s a chance, admittedly small, that the police could actually catch the guy if they respond quickly.

I think that you are most concerned about your daughter’s safety in this situation. Everything else is a lower priority to you. As the parent of a daughter, I can completely understand this.

The KINDEST thing that I can think of is that the principal is more concerned about the safety of the students as a group. He’s less worried about an individual student than he is about a big kerfluffle at the school. However, I gotta say that I lean more towards the dumbass principal theory. This situation needed prompt action, it should not have been put off until the morning. I’m also a bit :dubious: about Dumbass’s suggestion that your daughter should park closer in. In every school that I’ve ever seen, there’s a shortage of close parking.

I would suggest that maybe your daughter ask around, see if this has happened to anyone else. I also suggest that maybe your daughter and a group of her friends should walk out to their cars together, and the ones who get to their cars first drive the others out to their cars. Or they could carpool.

My take is that he’s probably a lazy principal, but I’d want to know a little more before making that call.

Does this sort of thing happen a lot? Maybe he knows that it’ll be a futile gesture, and he’s being pragmatic.

Yeah, you could make a complaint to the school, but since he was receptive to you, and wasn’t a jerk, you should take the high road also if/when you do complain.

Dumbass principal. Naive (and lucky) daughter. She should have quietly called the police as she backed away from her car, giving them a description while the crime was in progress. She’s lucky he didn’t have a gun and shoot at her when she called out to him. Thank goodness she’s ok! (Spoken as someone who made my own share of naive mistakes that were potentially life-threatening when I was a teenager.)

It was an emergency. She found someone IN her car, he was most likely on foot, probably within a few hundred feet of the school, she knew what he looked like and possibly where he was hiding. At that time, she could have provided a description of him, by the next morning, maybe not. Who cares if the safety officer (a real cop) was gone, they could have sent another one down, or had dispatch send a squad to drive over to check to see if someone matching the description was in the area. Now, the chances of catching this guy are zilch. At best, they’ll have a report of the incident and if they catch someone breaking into cars in school parking lots in the area, they’ll pin this one on him too, especially if he matches the description.

My guess is that the principal hadn’t dealt with a situation like this and didn’t know what exactly to do. There was no reason to not at least attempt, in one way or another, to get an officer to take a report right then and there and, if at all possible, to take a quick drive around the school in the area where she said he ran off too.

As others said, it would be one thing if she said she got out to her car and found that it had been broken into, but this was a burglary in progress, not only that, she confronted the guy…that’s an emergency.

911 is for emergencies. Someone running away after vandalizing your car isn’t an emergency. However, there is almost certainly a non-emergency number that the principal should have called or advised your daughter to call for this situation.

Someone in your car, going through your stuff, that you then confronted (rightly or wrongly) is a far cry from someone vandalizing your car.

What size city do you live in? If it’s over a 10,000, the police are not coming to hunt down the perpetrator. They would show up to take a statement and log it in so that if there is an increase of calls in that area, they’ll beef up patrol. Sounds like the principal is aware of this, and you and a lot of other posters are naive about what the police can and will do in an incident as you described.

You’re daughter is what 17-18…I think it’s past the point of you thinking that the school is supposed to be taking care of your precious little one.

I understand your concern, but it’s possible that the principal felt that since no harm was done, and there was probably no way they were going to catch the guy anyway, why call for an emergency to the school? It could bring a lot of unwanted attention / press and take hours to deal with something that didn’t need, or would be better served by, immediate attention, as long as the girl felt / was safe and okay with that.

I know it sounds horribly selfish, but the principal likel also has a wife and kids and wanted to get back to them and didn’t see the point of rushing to do it now when urgent care may not have helped.

I am not trying to be snarky at all. I say this as a teacher / employee so I put myself in his shoes. It’s your daughter and life, but for him it’s a student and work. And that doesn’t mean he wasn’t genuinely very concerned, just that he may have had a different, cooler perspective.

I would have been extremely concerned and understanding of the girl being scared and would have had her wait in the office until a ride can come and escort her home or something. Honestly I would have asked the girl if she felt like I should call 911 now, if it were that much of an emergency, or if she were absolutely sure she felt it could wait. I would have made sure that she definitely felt safe and didn’t feel like I was pushing her in any direction, or half assing anything to go home faster or bc I didn’t care.

Also, even though it’s scary because a guy in his twenty’s and a young girl were involved, he was “just” stealing and ran away. It would have been a different story if he confronted the girl.

I don’t think that you necessarily overreacted by wanting to call 911, but I just don’t think it would have really helped and I think the principal felt the same way and just wanted to go home.

Anyway, that’s just my opinion. Feel free to disagree or crucify me or what have you. I’m probably missing some major point, but I’m using my phone to post so I have stop editing because it takes me forever and is a pain.

TL:DR - It can wait, the girl was fine.

Other then her car being broken into.

Considering she said she knew what he looked like, which way he ran and where he was likely hiding at that very moment, I’m guessing she would have opted to have the police come out and get him. I know I would have.

Was the car actually broken in to, or did the daughter leave it unlocked? Sounds like there was no broken window or door damaged.
Was anything actually taken from the car?

Maybe I’m just jaded, but I think once the guy has fled, there’s a zero percent chance of the cops responding to a 911 call and somehow nabbing him. Dude is gone, the emergency is over. I get where you’re coming from. When my car was broken into, I was madder than hornets and wanted to call the President, but really, there was not much to be done. Emergency cops wouldn’t have rushed to the scene anyway for a car break in, and once they eventually got there, you’d have had a cops standing around a car, then leaving.

It was not an emergency; 911 should not have been called.

Frankly, the person who really dropped the ball on this one was your daughter. If she has a car, I presume she also has a cel phone. If she has a cel phone, she should have called the police non-emergency number herself and asked that a patrol car be sent to her location, where she could have, filed a report on the incident, given a description of the perp and pointed out where he went.

As for the school Principal, once he was approached by your daughter, he should have told her to call the police non-emergency number so she could request a patrol car.

Your daughter should also remember to lock her car doors, regardless of any contents it may or may not have.

TWIST: The principal is the mastermind of a large-scale theft ring! he needed time to cover his tracks.