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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Weight room loses $7,000 worth of equipment, reflecting larger security problem across campus


The weight room has traditionally been a place for both students and teachers to freely exercise during tutorial, lunch and after school, with the privileges of using the thousands of dollars in equipment there.

From the school’s closure in March to the beginning of sports practices in September, however, visitors to the space have misplaced — or perhaps even stolen — around $7,000 worth of equipment.
According to Tim Lugo, athletics director and head football coach, all equipment in the weight room was accounted for when he and fellow P.E. teacher Yuko Aoki took a full inventory of it in March. When they came back in August, they realized that some weights and bumpers were missing but attributed it to students and staff borrowing it.

The athletics staff knew the  problem was worse than they suspected after requesting that students and staff return their equipment in September; while some staff did return their equipment, the department realized that a significant number of bumper plates, dumbbells and 45-pound Olympic bars never came back.

“I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything, but it’s very possible that the weights were stolen,” Lugo said. “What’s interesting is that the missing weights were taken from the cardio room where all the extra weights are kept, instead of the large mounting platforms in the open, where it would have been obvious that some of the weights were missing.” 

Lugo said that the situation was frustrating because the staff had recently replaced the locks to the weight room just before the school closed in March. Since only one trusted coach, the janitor staff and the P.E. staff have the new keys to the weight room, Lugo suspects that a bold student either walked in while the room was in use and took equipment or a staff member forgot about equipment they checked out.

According to Lugo, the $7,000 worth of equipment lost reflects a larger security problem across campus — the weights being stolen may be just one in a string of problems with break-ins and incidents of theft.

While only a limited number of adults have keys to the weight room, Lugo suspects some people may have obtained copies of the school’s master key over the years.

To address these security problems, Lugo has supported the idea of implementing a card identification system instead of a traditional key-and-lock system. With card identification, staff would be able to check when and who unlocked the room, disable access to individuals or coaches in the offseason, and replace lost cards for just 3 to 4 cents. The athletics department also plans to install cameras above the entrance and exits to the weight room to monitor the comings and goings of students and staff without violating privacy. 

Until then, the athletics department and administration will hold off on unboxing any replacements for lost equipment, although principal Greg Louie has been filing for funds from the district to replace weights and bars that have been confirmed as lost.

Ultimately, the theft or misplacement of equipment in the weight room has negatively impacted athletes on campus. For example, the football team stopped using weights during the summer because there weren't enough for each member to use while social distancing, setting them behind in weight training.

Lugo urges students or anyone who might have the weights to return them anonymously.

“Regardless of intention, the situation is frustrating,” Lugo said. “There’s a lot of money lost and there aren’t many leads — it’s a big mystery.”

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