#3. School Employees Form a Textbook Cartel
California schools (along with the rest of its government) have been in a real financial pinch, resorting to such desperate measures as seeking commercial sponsorships from corporations to offset the crippling cuts their budgets have endured. But if you think that financial desperation makes employees feel bad about stealing from the schools -- for instance, by taking thousands of textbooks away from kids and pawning them for quick cash -- you'd be so very wrong.
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"Shit, when you see how little stores pay us for used books, you should feel bad for us."
A theft ring consisting of 13 people, including two librarians, a warehouse manager, and a former campus supervisor, set up their operation with Corey Frederick, a book buyer for the totally legit-sounding "Doorkeeper Textz," a company with ethics even more dubious than its spelling. For sums ranging from $600 to $47,000, the school employees would pilfer textbooks from the school, at which point Frederick would have his pick of the booty to resell to businesses such as Amazon and various textbook distributors.
Doorkeeper Textz would even sell the pilfered textbooks back to the schools that they were stolen from, owing to the fact that their most assured customers were schools that had just inexplicably lost a large number of textbooks. It probably left little Johnny and Susie wondering why their new books contained the same profanities and doodles they'd left in their old ones.
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"Awesome, now we can finish drawing the battle of Benedick Arnold and Thomass Jefferson."
Between 2008 and 2010, the Danny Ocean of academia had amassed at least 7,000 books from four ailing school districts, paying out $200,000 to his 13-person crew. But it all came crashing down when one of the honest employees at an Inglewood school blew the whistle. We'd like to think the judge threw the book at Corey Frederick and his band of erudite thieves, but they probably would have just stolen that shit.
#2. A College Official Steals Student Aid From Children of Migrant Workers
The children of migrant workers have a lot going against them, often being forced into the same backbreaking labor that their parents have been subjected to. That's why there are financial aid programs that give them the opportunity to attend community college and hopefully escape the cycle of drudgery. Unless you're unlucky enough to have your financial aid handled by someone like Anna Catalan, who worked for Santiago Canyon College in Orange County, California.
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"The children are our future, but my bills are present."
The director of the college's student aid program intercepted government money intended for migrant workers and either kept that shit for herself or doled it out to others (like family members) while feeding the rightful recipients a bunch of bullshit about why they didn't qualify. All the while, she was spending the money on jewelry and holidays while cackling to herself in front of a background of lightning bolts.
Over three years, Catalan robbed students of more than $46,000, just enough to afford the flying monkeys she always wanted. But the lives she ruined were at least somewhat avenged by the $89,000 in restitution she was ordered to pay by the courts and her 27-month stint in federal prison.
Still cheaper than student loans.
#1. Teachers Turn Their Students into Drug Pushers and Customers
You already know that drugs are a problem in our schools, because odds are you attended one and may very well have bought some drugs there. Schools have to be relentless about enforcing anti-drug rules, because even legalization advocates agree it's not good for teenagers to be doing that shit. And that's not so easy when some faculty see it as a chance to make a quick buck.
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"So raise teacher salaries to win the War on Drugs!"
Take English teacher Meredith Pruitt, who decided to teach a 15-year-old student the basics of running a street pharmacy. Splitting the profits with her understudy, Pruitt had the student sell anxiety pills to classmates. Others have eliminated the middleman and taken a more direct route, like Edward Diaz, a counselor and tutor at Willow Glen Middle School. Entrusted with mentoring youngsters through his "THINK Together" program, Diaz would eventually find himself charged with selling pot to two of his students.
Diaz's "No Stoner Left Behind" program has since been suspended.
But the hands-down worst case might be teacher aide Anthony Davis, who, rather than forging partnerships or exploiting people's trust, relied on brute intimidation. Davis attempted to force weed into a student's pocket on two separate occasions, making it clear he would flat out kill the kid or his family if he didn't join his operation. To illustrate his sincerity, Davis plunged a friggin' knife into a table, at which point the student was probably thinking the same thing you are right now, after reading this article:
"Is there not some kind of screening process for these assholes?"
A.C. Grimes is a raving Cracked fiend who enjoys writing. Feel free to check out his various observations and wacky compositions here.
Related Reading: Speaking of abuses of power, watch what baggage handlers do to your stuff when you're not looking. If you prefer absurdly petty abuses of military power, watch these drunk Russian soldiers ram a tank. We've got plenty more hilarious abuses of power where those came from, so dig in.