Locked Out Of Lockers

Shaniya Pemberton and Fahad Hussein

The bags of high school students are loaded with textbooks, binders, notes, folders, and other academic materials. Not only are the bags themselves heavy, but in the winter, many students are wearing or carrying thick jackets to school as well. The effort required to lug all of this during a six-hour school day can be overwhelming, hence the necessity of lockers. However, this year students are not permitted to use the lockers. While there is an explanation for the restriction—it’s because of COVID rules—students are suffering greatly as a result.

“I was on the train the other day, and I had to put my bag on the floor when I was standing up because my shoulders hurt from carrying a backpack full of school supplies all day.It really weighs on me,” says Jose Moreno, a freshman. This is just one of many examples of the physical burdens that a year without lockers has placed on students. According to the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, heavy school bags have contributed to an increase in the prevalence of back pain among teenagers. Giving students their own space to store their items will help to alleviate this health risk. Also, being free of bothersome aches and pains will allow students to concentrate more on their schoolwork.

Physical stresses aren’t the only reason to implement locker use. Another benefit is that it creates an opportunity for students to learn the value of privacy. By providing everyone with a location that is completely theirs, the school helps set boundaries and establish trust. Locker use promotes independence and a feeling of responsibility over one’s belongings.

In total, there are 530 lockers at Baruch (20 to 30 of which are broken), and this year’s student population is 459. That means there are enough lockers for each student to have their own without having to share. However, because we are still experiencing a pandemic, there’s a slim probability that lockers will be offered. If the school begins to repair the lockers now, though, while no one is using them, we will have enough lockers for everyone in the future, and possibly even some to spare.