Janitors who cleaned out sports lockers at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids last week accidentally tossed out football cleats and other personal equipment belonging to nearly a dozen student-athletes. Marcus Wright went to start summer conditioning and found the football gear he bought two weeks ago was gone.
Wright says, “I was surprised and there was somebody else with the locker right next to mine and he told me and I was heated.” Wright’s foster mother, Mary Arenas, says it cost $185 to replace the cleats, gloves and personal uniform clothing the school doesn’t provide for players. Arenas said the state provides a clothing fund for foster children, but this incident wasn’t likely to be covered.
“He would not have been able to get it right away,” Arenas says. “We would have had to wait or finagle something.” Usually, when school custodians plan a big spring cleaning, they’ll tell coaches to have students take home anything they don’t want tossed out, but a chief custodian — new to Washington High — forgot that detail.
Tony Lombardi, Washington’s football coach, says it was an unfortunate mistake. “We’re just sick about it,” Coach Lombardi says. “Obviously, we don’t want that to happen to our kids so we’re trying to find out what’s missing, get an accounting of that and replace all the gear so they can have good new stuff, just like they had two weeks ago before it disappeared on them.”
Washington officials say they’ll take booster club or other non-taxpayer money to refund what parents have to pay to replace the missing equipment. It’s expected to total $1,500.
By Dave Franzman, KCRG, Cedar Rapids