Lockers: useful or useless?

Are lockers necessary for West staff and students?


Thomas Yates

“Every student should get to choose if they want a locker. Some lockers are more beat up and old than others,” senior Madison McNabb said.

Thomas Yates, Reporter

The bell rings to announce the end of first block. You don’t need your heavy textbook for the rest of the day, but it’s just light enough that you don’t mind if you have to carry it. The question stands: do you go out of your way to put the textbook in your locker, or do you just deal with it and carry the book around for the rest of the day? How do you decide? Will the stop at your locker make you late for your next class, or could it help you get to one of your later classes on time?

West has a total of 2,376 student lockers on both floors, out of which every student is assigned one for the duration of their high school career. Walking through the halls, students can be seen at their lockers from time to time, but there’s rarely a time where every student is seen using their locker during the school day.

“I see more students use their lockers before and after school than throughout the day,” language arts teacher Amanda Ray said.

Almost every hallway in West has lockers in it, and most if not all are observable from a classroom’s doorway. While the school day provides five minute periods between classes for students to stop by their lockers, most of the locker usage comes in at the beginning or the end of the school day. Some students walk to and from school, others carry trappers and organizers instead of their backpacks, and their locker is a place to put their coats or backpacks for the day.

“The lockers can be useful if they have larger items, or if they actually know where their lockers are,” Ray said.

West has started permitting students to use their backpacks throughout the school day, something which was against the rules in years past. Lockers were used more often in the past, when students would have to put their backpacks away for the day and carry around string bags or other alternatives. They aren’t just for storing items though.

This year there have been efforts to liven up the school and its student body and staff with various decorations. For Valentine’s Day, there was a paper heart stuck to every locker in the building with motivational messages written on them.

“I really liked seeing the hearts on the lockers. I like the locker decorating, and I think it’s disrespectful to damage the decorations and tear them down. Maybe they’re jealous,” Ray said.

Falcons can recall seeing the paper hearts ripped up and littered across the halls, the result of individuals reacting to them. Locker decorating is favored by some Falcons, but that doesn’t necessarily dictate that every student wants a locker.

“I honestly have no idea where my locker is. I know it’s somewhere in the band hallway. I don’t even know my combination. I did before, when we had the no backpack rule, but now that I carry a backpack, I have all my stuff on me and see no use for a locker when it’s out of my way,” senior Madison McNabb said. “They’re not helpful to me, but I feel that for certain students they might be. There are people that carry around gym clothes and other extracurricular activity items. If I had a smaller instrument, I’d be able to put it in there.”

Extracurriculars leave students with equipment to store or transport at their own discretion: bowling bags, tennis bags, instrument cases, and a locker can be used to store these items, so long as it’s not off the students’ path during the school day. Students making the hikes to their lockers were met with messages on sticky notes on Feb. 14, an act positively received by some students.

“I thought the Valentine’s Day hearts were adorable reminders that you’re a good person with overall uplifting messages. I really enjoy seeing people’s activities on the lockers, so students can take pride in their accomplishments. The only nuisance is when people rip those off. Some people just don’t care and are really disrespectful,” McNabb said.

Some of the notes were found strewn across the floors of the halls, leaving those lockers bare of their heartfelt messages. This didn’t go unnoticed. senior Leah Anderson saw them in her passing times between classes.

“I think the locker decorations are a nice gesture, but some people are disrespectful and rip them off. The sports things they post for teams and the Valentine’s hearts are nice,” Anderson said.

Other than papers hearts, West’s lockers have been decorated this year with signs announcing what team or club that students are a part of. Despite these eye-catching attempts to draw students to their lockers, not all students use them in their daily schedule.

“I have used my locker once this year, and that was only for dance team’s Secret Sister Exchange,” Anderson said.

The Secret Sister Exchange is described as the dance team’s Secret Santa equivalent. There are more reasons than simply location of the lockers that determines why a student may or may not use their locker.

“As an upperclassmen, I don’t find the lockers to be very useful, but for the underclassmen I think they’re useful because they don’t have cars to put their stuff in. Upperclassmen, especially with the new backpack rule, don’t really need them,” Anderson said.

Students have the options to use their own vehicles, their backpacks, or simply carry excess items around with them for the school day as an alternative to using the school’s lockers. With these alternatives, do lockers face a threat of fading out of schools in the future?

“I don’t think lockers will fade out of schools, especially since they’re such a big part of the building, but I feel like carrying around backpacks makes them less needed,” Anderson said.