Though is was summer, our day started early because one of our girl’s was in summer school and we wanted to talk with our administrator about our alarm situation. We called him shortly after the office opened and explained what happened the night before and his immediate response was, “It wasn’t the cat, those girls are up to something.” He explained that we needed to call all the girls downstairs in the living room and then my wife and the assistant director that just arrived took each girl into our room checked each girls pockets, shoes, socks, etc. After they checked each girl for contraband, my job was to check the upstairs in their living area.
His instructions to me was that I should be as thorough as I possibly could. Check every pocket of every piece of clothing (clean or dirty), Pull out all the drawers, check under all mattresses and box springs, basically move everything. It sounded like a whole lot of fun, so up the stairs I went.
In the very first room I checked lived a girl that was on a higher level and was allowed to have a pet guinea pig. Next to the cage was a large bag of cedar chips that was used as bedding for the little rat like creature. I figured that could be a pretty good place to hide something so I stuck my hand in and started fishing around. I felt something hard. So I grabbed it and pulled it out to find a kitchen knife with about a 10 inch blade. I stuck my hand in again and found another and another and another. I had a total of seven knives when I stopped finding them in that bag.
Since I had been a houseparent for just over 24 hours I must say that I was a little freaked out. We called our administrators and they came right over (Our assistant director had just left). After questioning the girls it was discovered that they had taken the knives about two weeks earlier. Their plan was to take the boy’s house mom hostage and force her to drive them out of state in the group home van. Problem was they lost their nerve and didn’t know how to go about putting the knives back before we got there. Our administrators did a very good job calming us down and reassuring us that the girls we were caring for really weren’t violent.
I went back to searching and ended up finding about a dozen cigarettes, a couple lighters, and some contraband music cd’s and magazines. I also discovered that one of the special wires in the bathroom screen had been cut and that was why the alarm wouldn’t set back up again. They new that by cutting that screen we would have to bypass that sensor to get the alarm to set up. Then after we went to bed they were able to remove it and throw their cigarette butts out the window, which I also found that morning. It cost about $250 to have that screen replaced because it had to be specially made. Needless to say, when they built the new girls house they used a different type of alarm sensor.
The best part of that day was that most of the house ended up getting dropped to the lowest level and had to be to bed by 8:00 PM, so we were able to get some peace early in the evening.
Things I learned that day was: 1) Lock up the kitchen knives. 2) Pets can’t cut screens. 3. Cedar chips belong in the shed. 4) And this was NO easy job!