Whither High School lockers?

I was going to save this Washington Post story about how HS kids hardly use their lockers any more for quick hits, but since Drum blogged about it, how could I resist.  Especially as I have been generally bewildered by my high school son’s largely locker-free school and his willingness to be responsible all his stuff at all times.

I loved how Drum actually picked out the same absolutely asinine quote I had been planning on highlighting:

But then reporter Joe Heim talks to a high school principal who tries to explain why:

“The high school experience has evolved where learning is anytime, anyplace,” said Ann Bonitatibus, principal at Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, where most of the school’s individual lockers were removed during a renovation last year. “The more that our campuses are like that, the more inclined our students are to have their materials with them at all times and all places so that way they’re learning at lunch, at 20-minute break periods or between classes.

Ha ha ha. Sure they are. My only question is whether Bonitatibus really believes this, or was just trying to put one over on Heim.

The real answer, of course, is: who knows? Lockers became uncool for the usual mysterious teenage reasons—probably because it annoys their parents—and now you get laughed at for using one. So nobody uses them, and if you ask why, they invent some reason or other to fob off on the oldsters.

Exactly.  Learning anytime, anywhere sounds like “enhancing corporate synergies” etc.  And I get that a lot of kids don’t like to wear jackets, but it can get pretty damn cold some days, even in NC.  My son (much to my consternation) has taken to simply wearing his jacket all day long.  Anyway, it’s one thing to have a backpack with you all day, but a coat?!  Anyway, kids today.  Get off my lawn!


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

4 Responses to Whither High School lockers?

  1. Mika says:

    I guess they don’t have coat racks in the hallways like we do? We had brand new lockers in our junior high / high school but nobody ever used them expect when we had to bring skates to school. Now I remember that there was a rumor that some older guys tried to make “kilju” (type of homemade alcoholic drink) in their locker but they got caught because it starts to smell when it starts to brew 🙂

  2. Lawrence Wittenberg says:

    In my day (early to mid 70’s) a locker was a home away from home. It was a big deal to get a corner or end of the row locker because they were the biggest. I am sure some students could fit inside. People actually planned how to decorate their lockers and there were items in the store that were sold for this purpose. I could not imagine carrying all my textbooks with me all day (I didn’t have a backpack) even with a backpack. Back in those old days, everyone got their own textbook and they were for classes that lasted all year long and were big and heavy. The locker was your home base for books, school supplies, your jacket, gym clothes and anything else you wanted to store there. It was also a meeting place with friends as you got to know where people were going to be in between classes based on their locker location. They is so much our kids are missing out on without this locker experience.

  3. R, Jenrette says:

    Do you think today’s kids are going to have back problems in the future from lugging their books around all day? Why can’t they just us their Kindles? They are used to reading screens in their other devices and seem to like it 24/7.

  4. ohwilleke says:

    My son, whose a junior in high school, doesn’t use a locker and doesn’t even know if he has one. He uses his car to stash things he’ll need after school and even switches out stuff at lunch. He is not unusual. It helps that Denver weather is mild (you need a heavy coat only a few days a month during the winter), that some books are electronic, and that passing periods are short while the distances between classes are enormous in his large high school – every class is on a different floor of the five floor school and a fifth of a mile away, since classrooms are arranged by subject rather than grade level. He reckons he lugs 10 pounds around with him, I’d guess that 15 pounds is closer to the mark.

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