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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Rethinking lockers: have they become useless?

A row of empty and unused lockers during a passing period. (Deepa Gautam)

Almost every high school movie features at least one scene of students hanging out around decorated lockers, exchanging books and small talk. Whether it be a place to stash textbooks, leave notes, or simply catch up with friends in the hallway, lockers are shown to be the epitome of the American high school experience in countless teenage movies and shows.

At WA, however, rows and rows of lockers are left untouched and abandoned, with most students carrying their backpacks from class to class. And it’s not just WA; over the past ten years, schools across the country have reported a significant decrease in locker usage overall. With this growing trend, WA should consider making it more feasible for students to use their lockers or remove them once and for all. 

Currently, the hundreds of lockers at WA are not serving their purpose. And while figuring out what to do with these abandoned lockers certainly isn’t at the top of anyone’s to-do list yet, it definitely has found its way onto many student’s list of pet peeves. When asked, a majority of upperclassmen students revealed that they haven’t used their lockers since the first day of school. 

Although there are a variety of reasons why students cite not finding lockers helpful, this growing trend boils down to one main issue: incredibly short passing periods. Although five minutes may be enough to make it from one side of the building to the other, it certainly isn’t enough time to also make a quick locker stop, let alone use lockers as an area of socialization, as they used to be. 

Admittedly, it would be nice to reduce this load, but using lockers is only reasonable if classrooms are relatively close to each other, which is not always the case. Because of this, most students, like me, find it more efficient to carry a backpack through the halls, hauling materials around for each class.

In addition to lacking convenience, the decreased usage of lockers is also a testament to an ever-changing educational landscape.

In years past, lockers were considered essential to ease the burden of carrying heavy textbooks all day. Now, most heavy items typically stored in lockers, such as textbooks and assignments, are largely available on Google Classroom, and dropping two classes a day allows for students to selectively bring less materials. With education becoming largely digitized, there is less of a need to use lockers as a storage unit at all. 

Unless passing time increases, giving students a reasonable amount of time to make a stop at their locker, the space taken up by lockers should be utilized for more than housing these familiar relics of the past. In an effort to adapt to changing times, removing a majority of these empty lockers would allow for more space in crowded hallways and relieve student traffic between classes.

The extra wall space could also lend itself to more creative expression in the school community, such as decorated bulletin boards for clubs and student-drawn murals. Not only would this take advantage of all this unused space, it would also make WA’s halls a more interesting and expressive space.

A portion of the locker space could also turn into benches for students, providing more areas for students to socialize or study outside classrooms. Currently, in the mornings before school, students are often found sitting on the floor, which is not only uncomfortable, but unhygienic as well. Because of this, replacing unused lockers with benches and study nooks would be a welcome addition to the building. 

With that being said, there are undoubtedly a few students who do, in fact, utilize their lockers. During winter time, students often store their coats in lockers and many athletes use the locker rooms to stash extra pairs of clothes or sports gear. In addition, freshmen often report finding lockers helpful in their transition from middle school, where lockers are more widely used due to classes being in close proximity to each other. 

However, these usages remain in the minority of students and could be solved by keeping just a few necessary rows of lockers towards the center of the school and sports locker rooms, rather than the hundreds that occupy the building. Ultimately, the benefits of using locker space for more productive causes far outweigh the costs.

The era of slipping notes through lockers or personalizing them with carefully chosen photos and posters may be a thing of the past, but this isn’t necessarily negative. Not only have lockers become more of a hassle for students to manage in the long run, but the classic high school experience also has not disappeared for lack of lockers.

Instead, it has taken new forms, whether it be hallway chit-chat, decorated rooms, or social media posts. While even these outlets may change in the next decade, it is essential that we let go of the past, embracing changes that make students’ lives easier – and that may just start with removing lockers.

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About the Contributor
Deepa Gautam
Deepa Gautam, Editor-in-Chief
Hi! My name is Deepa and I am a junior Editor in Chief for the Ghostwriter! This is my third year on the paper and I joined because I love to read, write, and try new things. In my free time, I love watching movies, listening to music, trying new foods, and spending time with my family! :)

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    Ronan Lovely O'May 16, 2024 at 2:51 am

    Great take. I graduated in 2020. I never used my locker, but I used the lockers. I would find a locker without a lock near the classroom/location wanted to have something accessible. typically, before the first class of the day I would find a locker near the cafeteria and drop off my lunch. Then I would go to the English wing, and drop off some text books. If i was going to gym first, I would even just leave my entire bag in some random locker near my second class of the day. Never had a problem. Never got caught.