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School Throws Away Gym Equipment: Former Student-Athlete Protests

Lebanon High school of Lebanon, Tennessee starts off their New Year by losing weight–weight in this context literally meaning gym equipment. Blue Devil Football Foundation member, Bob Lea, posted a photo of old discarded gym equipment left for garbage by the Lebanon High school district at a local salvage yard, WKRN reports.

Lea’s status as a foundation member and former Lebanon High football player himself caused him to recognize the gym equipment. Among the abandoned weights were six weight trees, five squat racks, six glute and ham machines, one leg press machine and 14 weight bars. Outraged by this act, which he presumed as neglectful, he posted a photo on Facebook to share his dismay. He even noted that the weights being tossed away there was a “vulgar display of waste.”

Image via Bob Lea (Facebook)
Image via Bob Lea (Facebook)

Lea estimates that the equipment had a value between $7,000 and $8,000. Lea says that the reason they got rid of the old weights are mainly due to a lack of space in the new Lebanon High school built four years ago. However, he does not accept that excuse as being valid enough for wasting the gym equipment.

“That’s been a little bit of an issue because in the new school where they got state of the art weights, there weren’t enough weights to work out as many kids as they needed to at one time.”

Instead of simply throwing them out, Lea claims that the gym equipment could have been given to some of the district’s middle schools–which are lacking gym equipment. As such, he salvaged the gym equipment with his own money for $415.

“Hopefully, we can get some use out of them for our middle school kids,” said Lea.

Bob’s determination to save the gym equipment while calling the school districts decisions prodigal evoked a strong, and extensive, response from the LEA (Local Education Agency) Wilson County Board of Education Chairman, Larry Tomlinson.

He responded to Lea’s Facebook post, saying the school district would never be so wasteful as to simply throw away the weights without second thought. He then goes on to say that the gym equipment was discarded because it was deemed unsafe for proper use. Had the equipment been up to par, they would have donated them elsewhere.

Tomlinson also noted that the new high school already invested in new state-of-the-art strength and conditioning gym equipment. So student-athletes aren’t really losing anything in terms of the availability of gym equipment. And any equipment that was still in good shape was in fact taken to the new high school. However, Bob Lea still disagrees with the fate of the gym equipment, “We’re looking at steel racks. There are no moving parts, no cables, these are steel racks, steel bars. They don’t go bad. They don’t have an expiration date on them.” He added, “It’s just a waste of money to throw something away when you could get some use with the kids because it’s all about the kids,” WKRN reports. Lea strongly implies that Tomlinson and LHS does not have the school’s athletic program’s best interest in mind after this display. He gave his rebuttal to these claims also in his response,

Anyone who knows me, and knows anything about Lebanon High School should agree that there has never been a bigger advocate for LHS, its athletic programs, academics or the school in general than I have been and will continue to be.

Tomlinson ended his response by stating that anyone who agrees with Lea can discuss the issue at then it can be taken up with the five new board members to be elected in August 2016. Do you think that the gym equipment was thrown out too soon?

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