I worked for a full school year (2003-2004) as a lunchroom cashier at a Kitsap County junior high school.

Both my nieces have attended this school.

Students were not allowed to use the lockers which were purchased and installed when the school was built. I saw students coming through the lunch line with backpacks and- at times- musical instruments- holding a plate of chow and digging in a pocket for lunch money- the force of gravity pulling against their effort to behave in a business-like manner. I wondered why the items they were toting weren’t stored in school lockers.

My sense is that the lockers were off-limits because there was a potential for storage of unsafe or illegal items. If the lockers were off-limits for everyone, there would be no locker incidents during the school year.

The school I was at had a sheriff’s deputy on site, so they didn’t have to guess at appropriate security procedures, or go without law enforcement resources.

Banning the use of lockers meant not having to manage the use of lockers. Banning the use of lockers meant teaching students that good citizens and troublemakers are to be treated the same- thereby removing consequences and incentives for individual behavior.

The Message-

Learn the system students and parents- “Because I said so” is the way things are going to be around here. One size fits all- guilty until proven innocent- get used to it.

If I was Principal-

I would have a meeting with the school’s sheriff’s deputy to discuss my plan for use of the lockers- an asset provided to the school via tax dollars. The lockers create an opportunity to teach responsibility which can pay off later in life.

I would have a meeting with parents a few days prior to the beginning of each school year. I would say that we expect all of our students to be good citizens. Good citizens enjoy privileges and responsibilities like the use of school lockers. Good citizens will not give up their privileges because of the actions or potential actions of troublemakers. I would introduce the school’s sheriff’s deputy and indicate that his salary is being paid in order to maintain a professional and safe environment at the school. I would explain to parents that any student found to be misusing or storing illegal items in a locker- or using a locker in such a way as to risk the safety of others- would be dealt with swiftly, and that misbehavior in this area would not be tolerated. I would then take questions from parents.

On the first day of school each year, I would address all students and deliver the same message. I would let students know that the policy comes with one warning, and that they have each had their warning. I would then take questions from students.

Junior high students are smart. Treating them like second class citizens isn’t the right way to get them started.

P.S.- Why issue photo ID badges to school district employees if- wearing the badges is optional, and no spot checks are ever conducted to make sure the badge is matched with the person who is authorized to wear it? Security Theater.

Students are aware of the examples of leadership they are presented with.

Americans are winners- We expect a high standard.




North Beach, Port Townsend