With the rise of technology, are school lockers necessary?


Charlie Fee

Out of 12 lockers, only two are currently used regularly by AWHS students.

As education in many high schools begins to shift toward an online format, some school educators question the necessity of school lockers. Is the iconic American high school locker approaching retirement? Five weeks into the school year and the majority of school lockers remain idle at AWHS.

Whilst paper and textbook usage continues to decline in educational establishments, schools have begun to question the significance of school-provided lockers. Multiple schools in the U.S. have stepped away from issuing lockers due to decreasing amounts of physical curriculum, and the apparent possibility of illegal objects being stowed inside. One of the first schools to make this change was Tullahoma High School, a public school in Tennessee, which is yet to reassign lockers to students as they are unneeded in the school’s view. 

A recent poll conducted by AWHS students found that out of the 100 frosh and sophomores surveyed, 68 percent of students claimed they did not intend to use their provided locker during the 2022-2023 school year. The remaining 32 percent of students claimed they would use their lockers, reasoning that it was only to store sports equipment, not for educational purposes.

Assistant Principal Nate Severin recognizes the underutilization and high maintenance of AWHS lockers.

“I’ll be honest, since I’ve been here, I haven’t really noticed much locker usage even from when I started… Last year, we went through and cleaned all the lockers and a lot of the lockers weren’t being used for actual school stuff, they were just full of trash,” said Mr. Severin.

AWHS student Bridget Goodwin uses her school locker during a passing period. (Ben Luka Sheddrick)

Similarly, history teacher Brian Duenez expressed the decline in relevance and functionality.

“[Lockers] do have purpose, but simply because most teachers still use pen, paper, binders and books. The more that teachers gradually stop doing that and start using more of an electronic format, where students can just use one Chromebook for all their classes, then I think lockers will be obsolete,” Duenez said.

“Never once in my four years [at AWHS] have I used my personal locker for anything…,” said senior Simon Ghanizadeh.

In contrast to many of her peers, junior Zoë Dombrosky says that she uses her locker almost every day.

“I feel like we should be encouraging people to use them. I don’t really like how much we use computers in school so I think it’s nice when I do get to use a notebook. Also, I feel like it makes school feel a little more inviting because you have your own space,” Zoë said. “It feels like [school’s] back in the ’80s or something. My parents had lockers so I think it’s cool.” 

Lockers are an international symbol of the traditional American high school experience. However, in the near future, will school lockers become obsolete? Or will they be repurposed to modernize their relevance? Only time will tell if the iconic locker will remain in schools, or become an artifact of the past.