Loot left at schools remains unclaimed
by Daniel Freeman
While some items were actually lost, others were merely forgotten.
At North East Middle School, faculty and staff work throughout the year to locate the owners of the lost items.
Despite their efforts, the lost and found pile continues to grow each month. Some of the items are labeled with a name which gives the school the opportunity to call students down to the office to retrieve the items before the school year is over.
"If they are not labeled, we set them out in the cafeteria and describe them on the morning announcements so students can pick up anything that belongs to them. We also put items out during events when parents are at school, so parents can see if any of their children's belongings are there," North East Middle School Principal Denise Sopa wrote in an email.
North East Middle School's head custodian Charles Bergquist said throughout the year staff picks up items that are left behind. Those items are washed and set out for students to claim. If the items are not claimed by the end of the year they are sent to the local Goodwill. The staff keeps small valuables - eyeglasses and cell phones, in the main office.
"For things that are usable, we will donate them at the end of the school year if they are not found. If they are not usable, we dispose of them. We hold onto everything for a few weeks after school to give people time to come looking for their lost items, " said Sopa.
Perryville Middle School's staff has been cleaning out lockers since the school year ended on June 13.
The staff has found many different items, including a lot of trash. They also accumulated a pile of clothing and school supplies. At the end of each school year, the staff finds an assortment of items, said the school's lead secretary Wendy Bryant.
They include, hoodies, jackets, pants, socks, t-shirts, and school supplies.
"There is a (large) pile of clothes that we find. The clothing is washed and sent to local charities if not claimed by the month of August," said Bryant.
The school supplies that are left are recycled and reused for next year.
"Things have been left behind for as long as I can remember and we have been donating for 16 years," said Bryant.
Some of the school supplies are given to students who need the supplies and cannot afford to buy them.
"School supplies are reused. So during locker clean out, our teachers have collection bins that they put out and the kids if they don't want their materials, they can put them in there and they will be used for students next year," said Bryant.
Anyone who needs anything can get it from there," said Perryville Middle School's Principal Shawn Johnson.
While middle school students tend to lose cell phones and school supplies, elementary students tend to lose clothing and lunch boxes.
"About 99 percent of the items that are left are clothing and hats, and jackets. We hold on to the items until the end of the year and after that we get rid of it. We always take the stuff up to Ray of Hope," said Rising Sun Elementary custodian Francis Thompson. "Throughout the year we find something laying out on the playground or in the hallway. It's always here (in the cafeteria) all year long and if somebody did lose something they can come look for it."
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