I was working on a project at home earlier this week that required a piece of chain. I knew exactly where to find some - in a box on my desk at work. The box contains all sorts of "jewelry" that has been found in and around the school. Jewelry, you see, does not go into the Lost and Found. Neither do cell phones, cameras, wallets, or things like that.
What does go into the Lost and Found are articles of clothing, lunch boxes, books, toys, and things like that.
The Lost and Found in our school is located in what used to be a phone booth. Not the glass type that you might be thinking of, but a room the size of a small closet with a door that does have a partial window. The phone having been taken out long ago.
At any given time during the school year you can visit the Lost and Found and usually find things piled up at least 3 feet high. You see, while all the staff and students know that there is a Lost and Found and know that things that they find belong there, they seldom remember that that is the place to check when things are missing and cannot be found in the classroom.
You must remember to take a deep breath before you open the door because there are usually one or two lunchboxes in there that might have decaying food in them. There are also shoes and articles of clothing that have a fragrance all their own.
Once each marking period tables are set up in the gym during lunch and the contents of the Lost and Found are displayed. Students are asked to check the tables before leaving the lunch room to see if they can find something that they have lost. We have our lunchroom aides go through the items and check for names and you'd be surprised how many items do have names and how many students are certain that even if their name is in or on something that it is not theirs.
On several occasions we have had parents call the office and ask us to check the Lost and Found for a specific item. This may seem like a simple task, but the description of a coat or sweatshirt can be vague so we encourage the parent to have the student ask to come to the office or even to have the parent themself come in to check things out.
One mother called and was particularly distressed. It seems that her son had lost not one, not two, but three coats at school. She had already spoken with the classroom teacher and was assured that they were not in the classroom. She also had her son check the Lost and Found for himself and he assured her that he couldn't find them. So, she resorted to coming in for herself. Sure enough, all three coats were there. Two of them even had his name in them.
Even after the marking period checks there is usually a substantial amount of unclaimed items. We take the leftovers (clothing that is, not lunches) to a shelter if they are not claimed. Small items and lunchboxes are usually discarded.
The box on my desk has a couple of watches, several pairs of silver earrings, some key chains, Girl Scout pins and Cub Scout neck slides, and lots of junk jewelry. So what do you think - flea market, garage sale, or Ebay?