Principals at Columbia Middle and Evans High schools said they donated much of the clothing abandoned by pupils when the school year ended, but not before giving students multiple opportunities to reclaim them.
“We set up two tables full of clothes and stuff from our lost and found, and asked the kids to look through it for anything they might have lost,” said Columbia Middle Principal Steven Cummings. “We even sent notes to parents, so they, too, could look through it.”
Evans High Principal Don Brigdon said his school did the same.
At both schools, though, most items ended up in trash bags then taken to the Goodwill in Evans.
Brigdon said that Evans High makes about four large donations each school year to Goodwill.
“If we didn’t, we’d have a lost and found as big as this room,” he said referring to his office.
However, Brigdon said only items left in lost and found for more than three months get donated.
There is no set procedure across the school system for what to do with items pupils leave behind, Cummings said. At his school, most clothes get donated to Goodwill while some go to guidance counselors to loan to pupils in violation of the dress code.
While an assistant principal at Blue Ridge Elementary School, Cummings said abandoned clothes were kept during the summer and put on display at the following open house for pupils or parents to reclaim. Any clothes not retrieved then were donated to charities and churches.
School supplies often are kept by the school for use by teachers or pupils the following school year, Cummings said.
Brigdon said that school supplies recovered at Evans High are left on tables for any student to claim.
“We’ll even have middle school kids getting off the bus to grab some notebooks,” he said.
Principals at Richmond County schools also spend the summer months cleaning out lockers and emptying the lost and found of items left behind by students.
Cross Creek High School Principal Jason Moore said his school donated at least 20 jackets to the Salvation Army – even after administrators made multiple announcements to students to claim their items.
“It’s amazing what they leave behind,” he said.
Executive Director of High Schools Lynn Warr said janitors often clean out lockers and find food, clothes and textbooks never to be claimed again.
The principals have authority to choose which agencies to donate abandoned clothing but are never surprised at what they might find.
Staff Writer Tracey McManus contributed to this story