Danville Express

Living - September 14, 2007

The 411: Locker shock at SRVHS

by Katharine O'Hara

With two weeks down and 36 to go, the school year - and summer countdown - has officially started. Whether freshmen entering high school for the first time, or those returning for yet another year, San Ramon Valley High School students have been met with some significant changes this school year, but none more enraging than the major change regarding assigned lockers.

The high school has decided to strictly implement assigned lockers this year, something it's done in the past, but - as far as I can remember - never really enforced. In past years, students have ignored their locker assignment and claimed lockers with their friends in a location convenient for getting to their classes. This year, the school is requiring students to use their assigned lockers, and cutting off the locks placed on lockers someone else is assigned. Approximately 70 slips have already been issued requesting locks be cut off.

However, this new rule has caused significant problems and outrage among students. The switch has not been easy, and several phone calls from enraged parents have resulted. Because of the way lockers have been dealt with in the past, many students have been reluctant to move lockers away from their friends, and possibly into an inconvenient place. When students are actually willing to move and try to put their lock on their assigned locker, a lot of times someone else's lock is already there.

In addition, seniors - who one might think would have priority in this type of situation - were not even assigned lockers. Though it is possible for seniors to receive an assignment from the administration, available spots are sparse and inconvenient, many on the top or bottom row.

"I think this is just a ridiculous situation. SRVHS students have always enjoyed the freedom of choosing our own lockers, and it has made our school unique from, say, Monte Vista, where students have always been assigned lockers," said SRVHS senior Jillian Armstrong. "Having an assigned locker makes it hard for students to have a set place to meet their friends, seeing as the school is so big, and their locker might be far from where their classes are."

According to Phyllis Roach, an assistant principal at SRVHS who explained the purpose behind this change in policy, this problem is only a one-time deal.

"Several years ago, we used to assign lockers because, for security reasons, it is best to know whose stuff is where. This year, we realized we needed to go back to that policy, but unfortunately, because of construction, a block of lockers were knocked down and we didn't have quite enough lockers to assign all students," said Roach. "We figured that because seniors don't always use lockers (some seniors use their cars to store books), we wouldn't assign seniors lockers and just let those who wanted a locker request one."

However, it must be noted that to presume seniors would use their cars as lockers is unrealistic due to the fact students are not allowed to access their cars or even enter the school parking lot at any other point during the school day aside from lunch, and students may need to use their lockers between each class. Additionally there are not even enough spots in the parking lot to accommodate seniors, even if every senior carpooled with another. And those students who tried to apply for parking spots complained of rude administration, ridiculously long lines, and extreme, unrealistic hours.

"I had to wait for an hour and a half after school to turn in my paperwork. The only other opportunity to do this was in 10 minutes at brunch," said one senior. "It was also extremely frustrating to work with the administration, who wouldn't hear students out who may have had an exceptional situation."

As far as the whole locker situation goes, it seems communication was the major issue. Students were not notified of the new policy until the first day of school, and though the decision was made months ago, unrealistic assumptions were made in formulating the decision.

"It's just one of those things where you realize the flaw after you make the decision," said Roach. "We didn't get the information out soon enough to the community. Next year this won't be a problem because construction will be finished and we'll have a brand new set of additional indoor lockers for students to use."

Hopefully this explanation will provide upset students and parents with a better understanding of the school's decision, and in the future better communication will take place between administration and students regarding any change affecting them on campus.

The 411 offers information and insight on the teen scene by Katharine O'Hara, a senior at San Ramon Valley High School. E-mail her at ohara5@comcast.net.

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