For months, students at Linden High School in California had noticed items missing from their belongings when they returned to the locker room after gym class.
Fed up sophomore Justine Betti decided to hide inside a locker to see if she could catch the thief in the act. She was shocked to discover one of her teachers going through backpacks and purses.
"After all the kids left she stayed in there and went through people's backpacks," Betti told 10News. "I saw her take money and then I told people and nobody believed me."
Determined to put an end to the thefts, Justine decided to find a way to obtain proof of her teacher's wrongdoing. On February 13, she hid in her locker again, recording video both on her phone and on a camera that she had propped up in another student's locker.
Both cameras recorded the teacher rooting through backpacks and clearly removing money from one girl's bag.
"I didn't want to believe that she would do something like that because she was so nice, but then she did it," Betti said. The sophomore took the footage to the school principal and the teacher in question has been placed on administrative leave. The Linden School District and the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department are investigating and no charges have been filed at this time.
Although she feels like she did the right thing, Betti told 10 News that it was a difficult decision because the veteran teacher she accused is one of the most popular educators at the school.
"[The thefts] make you feel like your privacy was invaded," another student said. "But you know, you can't help but feel bad for her, either...she was a great teacher."
Ellie Hall is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 6055 A264 DADD AADC 347E 5986 547C C11C DD7D 176A.
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