Stolen football equipment sparks community donations



Donations to the Washington High School Football Program – which recently discovered that about $ 10,000 in helmets and protection had been stolen from the locker rooms at the campus gymnasium – are not needed as the insurance will cover the loss, according to the Fremont Unified School District.

As soon as word of the theft spread, community members quickly contributed thousands of dollars to help the school replace missing equipment before the start of the football season on August 25 against Encinal High School in Alameda.

But Fremont New Schools superintendent Kimberly Wallace said in an interview this week that Washington High has enough gear to start the season because the team is running out of players this year. Any additional equipment needed if more students enroll will be provided, she added.

On August 6, Fremont police revealed in a police file that school staff discovered football equipment had been stolen, possibly due to a door left unlocked during a construction project .

The crime likely occurred in mid-July, police said, adding that there were few leads as the locker room has since been cleaned. About 15 helmets, worth $ 350 each, and about 35 different types of protection were taken away.

On August 11, as media coverage of the incident spread, Fremont city councilor and Washington alumnus Raj Salwan opened a GoFundMe online account. Salwan donated $ 1,000 of his own money and used social media to solicit further contributions.

A day later, approximately $ 4,000 had been raised in all. People have left comments with their donations, such as “Go Huskies! Don’t let this get you down! “

But Wallace informed Salwan that the school district’s insurance would cover the costs of any necessary replacement equipment. Salwan has updated the donation page to notify potential donors.

“Soccer is a great sport because it teaches children the value of teamwork, hard work and persistence,” Salwan said this week in a text. “These are great skills for growing children and I wanted to do everything I could to make sure the school football program continued.”

Wallace said the district was grateful for the “wonderful” and swift support from the community, but the reporting may have left the wrong impression.

“As a district, we will always provide the safety gear that our students need, and I didn’t want to feel like the students would do without it or that we were somehow unable to cover the loss without donations. “she said. noted.

Wallace said the donations that have poured into GoFundMe – which will go to the high school’s athletic department – reflect Fremont’s character and commitment to schools.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our community,” she said.

The school also said this week that it had turned down an offer from the San Francisco 49ers of $ 11,000 to replace equipment, but said it was prepared to accept a donation to the sports department, instead. .

Wallace said the school district is trying to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“It’s sad to think someone would do that,” Wallace said, “but the response from the community speaks a lot louder than a person or two doing something wrong.”



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