BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Unless you have lived in the forest or were raised by wolves, or you have been a genius your whole life and haven’t gone to school, you have seen a locker.
Bristol Central High School has lockers it allows students to use. Other than that fact, there is little known about lockers.
I tried to fill that void by doing a thorough investigation. I hope that by being informed no one will take for granted a good locker. I know I won’t.
My experiences with lockers at Central have been unusual and extremely frustrating. Being branded with a “B” last name confines me to the basement for home room. I will have to frequent this dungeon in the morning for the rest of high school.
I detest having a locker there.
Freshman year I had no classes down there. I couldn’t drop off books without being late to class. Few teachers were sympathetic.
I don’t look like a weightlifting champion, but after carrying tons in my book bag, my upper body is quite strong.
When sophomore year came, wiser and still irritated to have such an inconvenient locker, I decided to find a different one.
But I wasn’t an upperclassman and couldn’t kick a freshman out of his precious locker.
I found a deserted locker on the first floor next to my friend. I could understand why. The door was constantly stuck as if Crazy Glue was in the hinges. I ended up having to exercise my arms to yank the locker open, but at least I had one.
I bought a few small key locks for it, which were repeatedly stolen. But no one ever took my possessions inside, maybe because it looked like a garbage heap.
I finally purchased a $10 combination lock which stayed with me for the rest of the year. The only problem was, I kept changing the combination so that no one could get in, then I ended up forgetting my last combination at the end of the year. I can never use that lock again.
At the end of the first week of school, I thought I should put my new books in my assigned locker. I was astounded when I saw a lock on it.
Before I went to breakfast, I temporarily placed my books in the empty adjoining locker. When I returned from the cafeteria 15 minutes later, there was a lock on the locker that held my books!
I had no idea how I was going to explain the events that had passed to the only available administrator.
I guess nothing can come easily.
I was told the locks wouldn’t be cut off and no action would be done by the school. My books were trapped in a locker and it was up to me to find a way to get them out.
Before lunch that day, in the corner of my eye, I saw a kid walking to the locker where my books were. I changed my direction to see if he would open it.
As he did, I told him quickly that I needed my books “thank you very much!” He was dumbfounded, of course.
What surprised me was that the only things in the locker belonged to me. Why on earth did he put a lock on it? I just took my books and left.
I gave up on my assigned locker and gradually adopted my boyfriend’s locker. It was conveniently located on the first floor. We just divided the space in half.
It was helpful to share because I was reminded to bring things, so I didn’t forget my books for class.
As a senior now, I maximize space by using a locker on each floor.
Upperclass students at Central definitely have much to complain about.
Students are worried about their locks being stolen. Most students pay about $5 for locks, usually with combinations.
When I ask people if they ever get their locks stolen, they generally say “yes, who hasn’t gotten their lock swiped?”
The people who never got their lock stolen just say “not yet.”
Most students wonder if it really matters whether they protect their lockers with a lock. To prevent locker theft, is a 10-inch steel padlock necessary?
Some students who got fed up with having their possessions stolen vacated their lockers.
One junior had her treasured leather jacket stolen so she carries everything with her.
A senior guy finds his car useful to hold books.
A bitter senior girl who had her lock stolen five times uses the art teacher’s closet as an alternative. This senior girl advocates punishment a tad milder than the death penalty. She thinks anyone should be able to chop off violators’ hands.
Possibly it would help is the lockers had built-in locks.. The knobs should be more secure and not so prone to falling off.
The majority of people want bigger lockers. People who have books for seven classes complain they need more space.
The necessities of life — such as food, clothes and skateboards — should fit inside lockers.
One gripe from a junior; “They’re not as big as the ones that Vinny Barbarino and Jimmy ‘Boom-Boom’ Washington had on ‘Welcome Back, Kotter,'” an old television show.
A senior whines, “The lockers are too small to jump into between classes with a loved one.”
Trying to make their lockers less drab, some students decorate them with stickers to create a masterpiece — and are upset when they find someone else gets to look at their cheery pictures.
Some artistic students want their boring locker colors changed. They want something flashier, like orange and red. One student prefers polka dots.
I have been greatly disappointed with my lockers, but I had no idea so many people shared my disgust.
Before the Board of Education starts vainly worrying about obvious, trivial problems, it should consider the wide-ranging locker dilemma. Then the quality of education will surely improve.
But that’s just my opinion.
Corrie Balash is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.