Oracle After Hours: Lockers waste valuable space, unnecessary nowadays

Oracle After Hours: Lockers waste valuable space, unnecessary nowadays

Mackenzie Bill, columnist

In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, there’s a scene where a boy is asking for spare change during passing period to save Ferris, and behind him are dozens of students stopping and talking at their lockers. They chit chat with each other while opening their lockers and getting out books for their next class. When you’re at GBS during a passing period, you’d be welcomed by students talking to their friends, walking to their next class, and scrolling through social media on their phones. But there’s one major difference contrasting South to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. An astonishing amount of students at South don’t use their lockers.

At the beginning of the school year, I shared a picture of the busy hallways at South with my grandparents, and they pointed out something I had failed to notice. I was oblivious that most people at South carry their backpack from class to class rather than using a locker. Instead of noticing a large number of students in the hallway, my grandparents noticed how every single one of them had on backpacks that were overflowing with folders and papers. This led to the big question: why don’t most people at GBS use lockers? 

An answer to this may be simply generational change or advancements to technology, but the fact that there is little locker usage at South is obvious. Instead of taking up empty space, South should get rid of more than half of the lockers and replace it with student’s art and academic work. Decreasing the amount of lockers is critical to give students at South a bigger opportunity to express their ideas. 

Although it would be entertaining, the realities of high school is not portrayed by an eighties movie. Many high school ‘norms’ have adapted and evolved since then. When I asked my grandparents, they said that there weren’t backpacks when they attended high school, lockers were their only options. The stereotypes of high school jocks that shove geeks into lockers is not apparent in high school, plainly because times are changing and high school portrayed in movies from the eighties aren’t what modern-day high school is really like.

Instead of hauling pounds of textbooks and paper around from class to class, most resources needed for school are online. According to an article from the Washington Post titled “Schools and Lockers: No Longer the Right Combination,” Joe Heim writes, “Locker 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.”  

Carrying around a Chromebook is much more effective than carrying textbooks in your backpack or leaving them in your locker. Although a nine-minute passing period at South may seem like enough time, having classes on the opposite side of the school is not uncommon. It’s not realistic to be returning to your locker every class instead of just keeping your books in your backpack. 

Unlike high school, a middle school student’s classes were mainly in the same hallways, giving them an opportunity to stop by their locker after every class. Middle school passing periods revolved around going to your locker to get books for the next class and talking with friends. There is definitely a shift from middle school to high school, not just socially or academically, but with lockers as well.

Although some students use their lockers to hold their lunch or things for extracurriculars, there is an unnecessary amount of lockers at South that are not in use. It’s dulling to see hallways filled up with unused lockers that take up empty space. It’s important for South to keep some of the lockers for students who actively use them, but there is a huge opportunity for students to express their projects, art, and opinions. 

Self-expression at South is valued through clubs, art, and through the numerous amount of electives, but there is room for more. Although lockers are essential, their purpose is decreasing through generational change and the advancement of technology. The block schedule also serves as a basis for the limited locker usage. Students deserve more opportunities to express themselves and reducing the number of lockers at South is vital to give students the voices they deserve.