Books missing after school used as hurricane shelter

Whether they were taken or misplaced, the cost of the supplies will be repaid by FEMA.

It's a sight -- Martha Hereford-Cothron didn't expect to return to -- empty bookshelves.

There used to be nearly 50 books on her shelves—many signed by her favorite authors.

Miss HC -- as Dunedin Highland Middle School students call her -- says these books were important to help her middle school students, who test in the lower 25 percent of the school's readers.

The books were gone after the school was used as a hurricane shelter. Whether the books were stolen or misplaced is still being looked into.

But Lisa Wolf with the Pinellas County School District says that every time they open their schools as shelters, teachers take an inventory of their supplies afterward.

"What we first want to do is locate any missing items and return them, and if they're not able to be located then that's when we work to replace any items."

So, who picks up the tab if supplies go missing? The district submits a request to FEMA to reimburse them for the items.

The good news: Hereford-Cothron's shelves won't be empty for long.

After Miss HC posted this to Facebook, the community responded in a big way, donating dozens of books.

And if the district finds the books were indeed stolen, "then we will be replacing them for her," Wolf said.
If you want to help and donate supplies, there's a wishlist set up on Amazon.

We contacted Hillsborough School District, who says it hasn't received reports of missing items. Teachers take important items home with them before the schools are opened as shelters, or they're locked up in cabinets.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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