Why High Schoolers Don’t Use the PE Lockers

October 12, 2018

As you burst through the locker room doors, you throw your bag down on a bench and get your gear on for practice. You empty your pockets and plop your valuables on top of your bag. You lace up you shoes and bolt out of the locker room. As you arrive to practice, the thought of a the lockers hasn’t, and probably never will enter your mind as you begin your warm up. You’ve learned to not use the lockers to store your bag, so you don’t.  Little did you know, when you aimlessly threw your wallet on your bag it opened up and a wad of cash was revealed.

In the breezeway locker rooms, almost all students follow this routine. They leave their belongings out on the locker room benches, or in the Auxi gym instead of where it’s “supposed” to be shoved into: a locker. However, enforcement is absent. The lockers frustrate students. And let’s be honest, only a sliver of high schoolers in ISB use the lockers for PE or an after school sport.

It doesn’t occur to most students that something, sometime, might be stolen from them. Bags are strewn all over the locker room, and valuables litter the ISB campus. Yet in the “three years I’ve been in the job,” explains Mr. Vaughan, “there has only been one incident that has resulted in a classified staff member who is no longer with us.”

It amazes Mr. Vaughan that “students can leave their valuables around and they don’t go missing.” This is attributed to the safe and honest community ISB has fostered.

We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such trustworthy people, but for Mr. Vaughan, he feels “it’s hard on some of the local classified staff when students leave a bag undone.” These cleaning staff who “day in and day out see wallets all over the floor containing large amounts of cash can be tempted to take it, especially if it’s more money than they may earn in a month.”

Students should be more sensible and not leave wallets tossed “all over the floor” in order to eradicate even the slightest thought of theft in a cleaner’s mind. To be clear however, we are gifted with a honest classified staff so we should not leave valuables out because it would be unfair to tempt the caring and hardworking cleaning staff.

This also translates to the real world. If you leave your wallet or bag loaded with valuables in a public space and a stranger happens to latch their eyes upon it, they may very well take it – not everyone is as honest as our cleaning staff.

Mr. Vaughan furthermore warns upperclassmen: “If your a senior and you are not choosing to put your bag in the locker… try that next year in college and I will guarantee you things will go missing.” You can’t control the a thief’s actions, but you can surely get into the habit of being more careful with your valuables. This is of course, if you don’t want them stolen.

Now, whose fault is it when something gets stolen from a student? Well, as Mr. Vaughan says, “it’s a grey area.” Mr. Vaughan talks about “victim assisted incidents.” He refers to students whose own stupidity led to their belongings being stolen.

It’s a grey area.

— Andy Vaughan (Dean of Students)

The school provides lockers in order to keep students safe; they are doing their job. So, “if everyone used their locker there wouldn’t be an issue.” explains Mr. Vaughan. Most students concur. As a matter of fact, 80% of the HS students concur, according to a conducted survey!

But in defense of the HS body, every PE class and every sports practice, should students battle with fitting their bags into lockers that aren’t big enough to hold them? Or should they just leave it on a bench, so it can bait thieves?

What to do? They realize it’s their fault if something were to get stolen but at the same time it’s a struggle to beg your bag to fit in the locker? What to do?

According to the HS Handbook, ISB is not responsible for loss or theft of personal items on campus. Mr. Vaughan suggests that if students simply used their lockers everything would be fine. This is a great idea, yet the unmissable flaw is that the lockers are too small and inconvenient. Students won’t use locker for these very reasons. The admin could stop enforcing these malfunctioning rules and find an alternative way to tackle these problems. It’s the students chose to put their things in a locker, but shouldn’t the school find ways to make it easier and more convenient for students to use the lockers? Unfortunately, lockers here, have a negative connotation and are a hindrance to the flow of things, yet they shouldn’t be.

As Ludo, a junior, puts it, “No one I know uses the lockers in the PE locker room. They are too much of a hassle and are inconvenient.” This is a major reason, yet one of the many reasons, students don’t use lockers in the PE locker room.

No one I know uses the lockers in the PE locker room. They are too much of a hassle and are inconvenient.

— Ludo Bernier Michaud (11)

An alternative common upper class trend to get around sticking valuables in the lockers for after school sports is leaving them in the Auxi gym. Many students subtly execute this act under teachers noses. Only 25% of students in 9th and 11th grade disagree with this norm. Why do they do this? They do this because it’s easier for them, and according to Mr. Vaughan they are “lazy” in their approach not to use a locker.

Many students agree that policies on this issue are unclear. And yes, there are rules present, but they’ve been poorly enforced. Ish Benmoussa (9) strongly believes that the rules aren’t enforced, and his opinion doesn’t stand alone. Imad Bakkali (11) says that “teachers in the PE office sometimes tell the students not to put bags in the Auxi gym.” Teachers “sometimes” enforce the rules. But as Mr. Vaughan states, it’s not the teacher’s job to make sure you put your bag in a locker as it is simply impossible to ensure it is done all the time.

It’s just the common ISB HS habit to eliminate all use of the lockers. But if people don’t want to run the risk of valuables being stolen there must be some ways to get around this barrier.

To improve the lockers, students suggest enlarging them so bigger bags can fit. Also, there could be a system formed where there is a designated area for bags so the locker room doesn’t get cluttered. “In ISM there was a separate room for bags, with a camera watching over them,” says an anonymous student. This is a great idea that ISB should adapt. “That way, students can pick their bags up when they need them and stuff wouldn’t get stolen.” Furthermore, reminders should be posted in the locker rooms telling students to take their valuables with them; this is a subtle and calm way to enforce some suggestions.

For any student reader I can imagine you won’t want to comply with any of these solutions because you like the way things are. That’s why, it’s always going to be the students choice. But it would be in your best interest to comply with the suggestions.

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