Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seven Rules for School Lockers

When the subject of school lockers first popped into my head, I thought, "I don't even want to think about school lockers, let alone write about them. I've seen what they have inside them." Then I thought, "Oh, go ahead, it's probably information students, parents, and maybe some teachers need to know, no matter how gross it may be or unfair it may seem." So, here it is.

1. Don't share your locker with anyone. If the locker is assigned to you, you are responsible for what's in it. While we'd like to think our friends wouldn't put anything in there that shouldn't be in there, unfortunately, that's not always the case.

2. Don't tell anyone your combination. Also, be careful when using your combination because someone could be looking over your shoulder. Once they can get into your locker, nothing is safe.

3. Don't keep things in your locker that shouldn't be there. You are responsible for those items. Inappropriate or illegal items have no place at school, or anywhere for that matter. It is the owner of the locker who will suffer the consequences for possession of those items.

4. Don't put your books or other items in someone else's locker. Often times students will put their books in a friend's locker overnight because it's closer. The problems come the next day if that student is absent from school and you have no access to your things.

5. Don't leave open food wrappers or pop cans in your locker. These draw bugs. I've been at school at night and have seen cockroaches, spiders, ants, and even mice. I'm sure they make the rounds of student lockers looking for food and drink. If you carry your lunch to school, make sure it's wrapped properly, eat it that day, and take home or throw away any leftovers before you leave school that day.

6. Since school has been in session for a few weeks now, it's probably time to clean out your lockers. First, look through your papers. Some should be filed, some should be recycled, and there may even be some that should be turned in to teachers for a grade. Second, look for library books that need to be returned. And third, if you haven't already, it's probably time to take those gym clothes home for a good washing.

7. Remember that the school locker is the property of the school. School officials have the right to check lockers at anytime as long as they have provided their locker policies to students at the beginning of the school year. As it turns out, they can also check the contents of anything you leave in your locker. That includes your coat pockets, gym bag, purse, and backpack. As long as there is "reasonable suspicion," these searches are legal and have been upheld over and over in the courts. Students should expect no privacy when it comes to their lockers since school officials own and control those lockers. Even searches with dogs have been deemed legal. Random locker searches have also been done if there is a suspicion of drugs or weapons. Keep in mind, these searches are done to keep students and staff safe.

So, there it is. Now stay healthy, stay safe, stay happy, and keep your lockers clean.

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