Extra Clothes

  1. I keep a stack of extra clothes in my office for students that have bathroom accidents. I tell the students to bring the pants back to me the next day, but I rarely get anything back.

    I'm almost out of pants for the second time this year. Over winter break, we bought about 30 new pairs of pants in all sizes and four months later I only have 4 pairs left (and they will only fit the very small kids).

    We've talked to students and parents, called and sent notes home. Parents either have no idea their kid borrowed pants, have no idea where the pants are, or promise they will send them the next day (which rarely happens). I started writing our school's initials on the tags of all the pants, but it wears off when washed...

    Any ideas on how to get pants back?! I'm beginning to get desperate!
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    About mmmiller

    Joined: Oct '11; Posts: 14; Likes: 5
    Licensed School Nurse; from US


  3. by   caliotter3
    Bug the parents until they return them. On notes, let them know you will be happy to accept a donation to replace the pants you sent home. Or, get out of the clothing business altogether and start sending the kids home for a change of clothing, that would get the attention of the parents.
  4. by   Staragate
    I would write it off as a loss. A lot of parents are indifferent to things the school GAVE them (loaned really). The school system I worked for had a clothing drive and distributed donations among all the schools in the district. You can do a school-wide announcement that you are taking used clothing as donations. These kids outgrow stuff all the time. Anything unsuitable, donate to Goodwill. If you are still short, you can always appeal to the local charities. There's no reason the school should spend money on this.The money needs to go to supplies.
  5. by   mc3
    I enclose a note asking the clothes be returned so another student could "borrow" when needed. I get the clothes back probably 1 or 2 times out of 5. I don't really mind if it's an occasional accident for the small kids - it happens. For the frequent "accidents" I call the parents and ask them to bring in a set of clothes to keep in class. I had one child who purposely wet his pants so he could get out of class and come to the clinic for new clothers. Keeping a spare set in the class took care of that novelty! The teachers will send the older kids (4th and 5th graders) for clothes if they spill something on them - even water! I'm in FL so it's always warm here. In these cases, I hand the kid some paper towels and say "blot away"! If the older ones spill milk or juice, I hand them wet paper towels and tell them "blot away". Of course, if it's something really gross or sticky, they can borrow something. It got so bad that some would come up for a silly reason - spilled water on nylon shorts so they could get out of class - it had to stop. I swear, a few complained because they didn't like the style of what I had.....we had a talk about the clinic not being a mall! (mean nurse, I know). Try asking the PTA President to put out a call to the PTA. I've also sent a schoolwide e-mail for staff/teachers asking if they had any extras and were willing to donate, it would be appreciated.
    Good luck,
  6. by   Double-Helix
    Is there any way you can charge for these? Rather than sending a reminder note, send a bill from the school stating that unless the clothes are returned or the parents pay the amount of ($10, or whatever you paid for the pants) their child will not be able to attend any after school activities. My school used to send notes like this if we had missing books or the school was due any money.

    Is the principal on board with this initiative? Could you get clothes for the students worked into the budget and then have the school charge for the unreturned clothes? Sounds like a good way to emphasize that you aren't giving away free clothing.

    I'd be annoyed too. You're trying to do a good service and even the parents are not appreciating it. Sending the kids home might get their attention, but be more of a reward for the kids, who might start having "accidents" on purpose to get out of school.

    Does your school have a washer/dryer? Another option is to loan the clothes for the school day, but don't give the soiled clothes back to the child. Wash them during the day (or wash in the sink and then throw in the dryer). The child has to return to office at the end of the day to change back into their own clothes. If they don't come back, you hold on to their clothes until they return with the borrowed pants.
  7. by   sharpeimom
    i'm not a school nurse, but some things the school district does here seem to work fairly well.

    the school district has boxes inside the grocery stores and hugemart with signs to drop off your kids' outgrown clothing to be
    used as "spares" within the area schools. area churches have also volunteered to host boxes too. anything unusuable donations
    are either tossed or torn into craft or quilting squares and donated.

    from about july on, until school starts again, the newspaper runs articles asking people/parents to bring in old clothing that's been
    outgrown or to buy school supplies for poorer kids,along with a pair of pants, a top, a package of undies, socks, etc. to be kept in the nurse's office. both are very successful. every time we grocery shop or hit hugemart all year, we toss in notebooks, pens, etc.,
    pants, undies, and take them in a few times a year.

    our early education building has two washers and two dryers. they have k-4, k-5, 1st grades, and headstart. lots of goofs!

    something that gets rid of "potty" smells is the pet resolve carpet and spot cleaner. there's regular and pet resolve. you'd want
    the pump bottle instead of the spray. it also comes in refill form. if needed, follow up with a blast of fabreeze spray.
  8. by   Flare
    when i was working in the all k school i had a process for lending clothing - soiled clothing were put in a plastic grocery bag with a note stapled through the handles to wash and return asap. ususally got clothing back pretty quickly. Towards the end of the year when the clothing inventroy was either depleted or just ratty looking, i would send out a note to parents to please consider donating some of their children's out grown clothing for next year's children. i usually got an okay response
  9. by   JudithL_in_NH
    I recently asked my principal if we could enact a policy next year for Pre-K through grade 2 to have a change of clothes in their backpacks.

    The use of my clothes closet has gotten out of hand and I'm lucky if things are returned even 20% of the time. I'd rather put the onus on the families, with my closet as back up, and, if nothing fits or appeals to the child, then parents can be called to bring something in. I often have kids refuse my clothing selections as not pretty enough or not nice enough!
  10. by   mustlovepoodles
    I think the business with extra clothes is pretty universal with school nurses. Here's what I do: Twice a year I buy about $50 worth of panties and underpants. On two occasions i was given a Visa gift card to buy extra school pants and shirts. I took it to the local thrift store where I was able to buy about 5 times the amount of clothing I could have gotten from a department store. From time to time I put out the word to staff that we need more small pants or big boy shirts and our staff rustles up clothes that their own kids have outgrown.

    I really don't get upset when the clothes don't come back. I tell the kids to keep the undies and return the pants/shirts. But realistically, our parents are so impoverished I don't blame them for keeping the clothes. We have several students who have only one set of uniforms. They wear them 5 days a week, 40 weeks a year. I can't begrudge them keeping a pair of long pants I picked up at the thrift store.
  11. by   gonzo1
    I would be buying the clothes from the thrift shop.
  12. by   caregiver1977
    In our district pre-K and Kindergarten are supposed to have a set of clothes just like they are supposed to have school supplies. It is supposed to be required. I don't know what they do for the older grades. Spare clothes are provided for them if clothing the child's size is available. I have a child in first and one in third grade. I tried to get them to carry a spare set of clothing in their bookbag, but they were too embarassed. It didn't help that my husband made fun of the kids for carrying the clothing--and I think some kids in my third-grader's class found the clothing and made fun of him. I tried to explain to my kids and my husband that the spare clothing aren't just for bathroom accidents; you or someone around you may spill a lunch, you could spill something in art class, etc.

    I wouldn't invest much of my money at all in buying spare clothing. It is really the parent's responsibility, IMO. As others suggested, if you invest your own money, buy second-hand. I wouldn't be worried AT ALL about the students who don't like what they are provided. Either their parents need to provide the clothing, or you can give the child the option of walking around with their clothes as they are (if it is a bathroom accident, I am sure they will then willingly accept what they are given, and may even be grateful for it!)

    Parents also need to be notified when their child borrows clothes so they can even be aware that they need to be returned.
  13. by   Purple_Scrubs
    Quote from mustlovepoodles
    I really don't get upset when the clothes don't come back. I tell the kids to keep the undies and return the pants/shirts. But realistically, our parents are so impoverished I don't blame them for keeping the clothes. We have several students who have only one set of uniforms. They wear them 5 days a week, 40 weeks a year. I can't begrudge them keeping a pair of long pants I picked up at the thrift store.
    This is how I feel also. I honestly don't expect them back and have been surprised a time or two when I do get some back. Most of the kids could use a new pair of school pants anyway, so I don't worry about it. I do not purchase clothes with my own money though (the counselor handles extra clothes).

    I do reserve my "stash" of clothing as a last resort. We always attempt to call home first and ask them to bring clothes. Only if we cannot reach someone, or the parent tells us they cannot come or send someone else will we offer our clothes. Usually a parent can call a relative or someone if they are working. Occasionally we have families with transportation issues or who cannot leave work and do not have somone to come, and we are more than happy to supply clothes in that case.
  14. by   parkay
    Check your lost and found pile! Lots of times clothes never get claimed and our school will take them to Goodwill after a while. If my stash of clothes is running low I send out an all staff e-mail asking for the staff to check their homes for any items they don't need anymore. Most of what I have is donation and I have even brought some of my kids old things.
    Some people are really good about returning stuff. I've used a marker to wright the schools name on the waist line of pants. Since they are donated I'm not to concerned if they don't come back. Maybe the student really needs the clothes!
    For our Kindergarten Round Up (when kids and parents get to meet the teachers etx.) I suggest to parents to have a change of clothes in the kids lockers for accidents, spills, falling in mud ETC..

    I do purchase new underwear annually and just take it out of the budget.

    If we know a kid desperatly needs some clothes we have a group of parents who are willing to get what they need!!