Desolate locker phenomenon continues


Sharon Santos

Junior Somaya Elaoud opens her locker to grab her lunchbox.

Sharon Santos, Staff Writer

Gray, rectangular lockers sit vacant as students lug around all their belongings in their backpacks. One trend prevails: lockers are unused and obsolete.

“I don’t even know where [my locker is],” freshman Skylar Yun said. “I feel like it’s inconvenient to go in between classes to your locker and then go to your class.”

In film and TV, lockers are a central location where love notes are left, friendships are born and dirty gym clothes and heavy textbooks are stored. However, reality is far from this. 

Possible contributors to this trend include the FCPSOn program, which was initiated countywide in 2019 and provided all students in the district access to a laptop. Teachers are increasingly using online resources as opposed to traditional textbooks. Even when students are issued textbooks, they are meant as a home resource and do not have to be brought into school every day. 

“More and more teachers are either giving students the things they need in class, or books are available online,” assistant principal Timothy O’Reilly said. “The number of books a student needs to actually have around the school has decreased.” 

Lack of locker use was not always the norm. Middle school provides students with their first lockers where they are widely used, at least, at the beginning of the year. 

“In middle school, everyone [used their lockers],” Yun said. “The school was pretty small, not as big as Chantilly, so it was easier.” 

 Because lockers assignments do not take into consideration where a student’s classes are located, may be hard to access lockers throughout the school day. According to O’Reilly, there are over 2,800 lockers in the school which could not serve the almost 3,000 students at school. Under the current locker policy, underclassmen are the only students assigned lockers. Upperclassmen must request a locker. According to administrative assistant La Tanya Allen, she rarely sees requests for lockers. 

Still, some students use their lockers to store their books, backpacks and other school supplies. The space is a place assigned solely to them in a school where they travel from classroom to classroom throughout the day.

“I put my tennis racquet and sometimes a water bottle and a snack in there,” sophomore John Cherinsky said. “I feel like people don’t take the time in the mornings to stop by their lockers, and they mainly just hang out [before] they go to class. I think more people should use their lockers because they are really convenient.”

According to O’Reilly, the administration is looking to remove entire locker bays around the school and if the need arises to turn the space into small classrooms, offices or meeting spaces.

“I would hope that the future for lockers is we get rid of them because it’s one more thing to have to maintain, one more thing that people are not using which makes it obsolete,” O’ Reilly said. “I’d rather use the space for other things.”