New locker room policy unnecessary and inconvenient

Alaa Hussein

In April 2018, Conant High School changed the way students are supposed enter and exit the locker rooms. For the previous four years, students usually entered the locker rooms via the cool, spacious gym. It was also common for students to stand in the gym while waiting for the period to end. Now, however, students are allowed only to enter and exit the gym directly through its locker rooms using the double doors in the main hallway. Students are also required to wait inside the locker room while waiting for the period to end and to exit through these same doors. It is important to note that entering and exiting through the main hallway was the original locker room procedure used at Conant for many years, and that students have only been allowed to enter and exit through the gym for the past four years. As expected, the change back to the old procedure has upset many students who believe the system to be inconvenient.

According to PE Department Chair Mr. Cromer, “The school reverted back to their old procedure because the gym was becoming overrun with students who were using it for congregating, playing games, and many other activities” that weren’t meant to be done in the gym. “The previous procedure—the one we’ve been using for the past few years—which allowed students to enter and exit through the gym, wasn’t working,” he added.

While I agree that something needed to be done to prevent the gym from becoming too hectic, the current procedure is not the right solution. It has many downsides which could potentially harm students.

The first issue is that packing many students into a small locker room tends to make the place extremely hot and give it an overwhelming smell. The smell and the heat are inconvenient for both students and teachers, who become extremely uncomfortable. Even worse, the smell noticeably leaks out into the main hallway—especially near the boys’ locker room. The main hallway is an important part of our school, which displays the many achievements that our school has won including trophies and medals. The fact that it smells like a locker room can leave a very bad impression on visitors.

Another huge flaw in the procedure is that it can be extremely difficult for students to enter and exit the locker room without being trampled upon by others. When the bell rings, students rapidly flow out the locker room doors and into the hallway, leading to claustrophobic situations that could put them at risk for minor injuries. The tightly packed exit could be especially dangerous if there were a fire or other emergency inside the locker room.

However, the most unfortunate part of the new locker room procedure is that the vast majority of students who do not use the gym for inappropriate activities must now suffer due to the actions of a minority. Instead of depriving everyone of the privilege of entering and exiting through the gym, staff could closely monitor the areas in the gym known for congregation and game-playing. Staff could even restrict access to areas like the upper gym during the passing period. Staff already heavily monitor many hotspots for congregation, like the bathrooms. However, very few staff members were present in the gym during passing periods before the procedure changed. Stationing hall monitors in the gym during passing periods would deter many students who would otherwise do inappropriate things there.

Overall, the doors in the main hall aren’t designed to handle large amounts of students pushing through them all at once. Tired students make the place all musty and hot. And sadly, most of the people who now endure the cramped and awkward locker room each day haven’t done anything wrong. There are certainly alternative ways to prevent students from congregating and loitering than to confine students and staff to the crowded locker room.

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