31 January 2018

High-school lockers are so... yesterday

It is a full five months into the school year, and Isabel Echavarria, a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Maryland, hasn’t used her locker once. She’s not even sure she has one...

Once the gravitational center of the high school day, lockers long ago lost their allure, and their usefulness seems a relic of an epoch of education that has slipped away... The trend has expanded so rapidly and widely that schools are now removing individual student lockers from their hallways, and builders and designers for many new high schools don’t even include them in their plans...

So, why the change? Anyone with a high schooler in their orbit knows that students now want everything they own with them all of the time. Books, phones, water bottles, headphones, laptops, tablets, snacks, coats, extra shoes...

Lockers are also being left in the dust because schools offer more classes that use online textbooks, or they keep textbooks in the classroom to be shared by students... At Rock Ridge High, also in Ashburn and home to 2,100 students, Principal John Duellman estimates that 90 percent of sophomores, juniors and seniors don’t use their lockers.
More at the Washington Post.


  1. We rarely used our lockers when I was in high school in the early 00s. We had 10 minutes between classes to get from one end of the vast school building to the other, while navigating hallways that were packed like sardines with other students doing the same. Visiting a locker during that time would have been a logistical impossibility.

  2. I concur. My kids rarely went to their lockers because the school is now so huge that you may have to run a quarter-mile from one class to another, while your locker is in a totally different part of the building or campus. Forty years ago, my whole high school was in one hallway, and we had enough time between classes to smoke.

  3. Yes, my daughter had the same issue - she would have used her locker if she was logistically able to. Unfortunately it was an impossibility if she wanted to get to classes on time.
    The difference between a graduating class of 1800 people and 32 people (my own class)

  4. Well into my 40s I had a recurring nightmare that I did not use my locker for a long time, and then I could no longer remember where it was (or the combo) when I needed it. This new generation will be free from this horrible psychological trauma.

  5. is there a subtle reason why 'High' is 'HIgh' in the topic line?


  6. When I graduated in 1975 I had to go to the office and find out what my locker number and combination was so that I could turn in my books. The clerk just shook her head. I know its nothing to be proud of, but graduating, for me, was a major accomplishment.

  7. From the perspective of a 33 year teacher: High schools (and many middle schools) in my district have 4 period days. Im this age of techbooks, online assignments and turn-ins, and laptops for every student, why is there a need to go to a locker between classes? On the other hand, why can't students go to their lockers prior to Mod 1, drop off their coats and such, then proceed to classes? I have a footlocker size storage bin (aka Lost and Found) in my room filled with coats, shoes, notebooks, water bottles, purses, headphones/earbuds, cellphone chargers, 2 iPads, several phones, eyeglasses, backpacks, gym clothes, and 2 birth control pill containers. My colleagues have similar treasure chests in their rooms. This does not include the food and food containers left in classrooms every day that teachers have to scoop up and throw away.

    It is great that students feel the need to carry all of their possessions with them. Not so great is that many of these items are carried for but a short time, then left behind. Some of this detritus is inevitably stolen, which leads to parents trying to hold teachers accountable for the seurity of their child's possessions.

    Sigh. Have at me for being an old curmudgeon (I know, redundant). My twenty-something daughter has a job as a bio-med technician in a well-known hospital. She is expected to use the locker daily...and she does.

  8. My 16 year old son doesn't use a locker. The school has expanded recently and there aren't enough for everyone, but he wouldn't use it anyway. He lugs around a 40lb backpack full of textbooks and binders. Crazy if you ask me.

  9. Coming from the UK I can say I was very jealous of the US locker system. I would have been able to skateboard to school and put it in my locker. I could have also left all sorts of things there that I did not want to bring home or even things I did not want to be seen at home. I could have had a change of clothes and left my uniform in it over night while I went out with friends.
    Even now I so wanted to be Kurt in American Graffiti, going back to try his old number.


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