Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lockerless Schools? Not in Chicago.

According to this article in the USA Today, USA Today: Lockerless Schools?, many schools are transitioning to lockerless because of the influx of ebooks and ereaders. While this trend bodes well for the backs and shoulders of our kids, I was saddened to hear the news. The schools cite cost savings and the fact there are less tardies and less opportunity to hide a weapon. But like the passing of vinyl, Bozo Circus and Dixie cups, it's just one more thing from my childhood that's going away.

I don't know how many people have fond memories of their school lockers, especially kids like David Peoples, who quite routinely got stuffed into one. There was the one time I was walking down a deserted junior high hallway, only to be startled to see a locker door open, from the inside, and watch Scotty Griffin walk out. "I just wanted to see if I would fit," was all he offered as explanation, but we shared a pretty good laugh that, without lockers, we otherwise wouldn't have.

For a short period, I harbored a secret crush on Tom Stringfellow, whose locker was always right next to mine, until he fell in love with Debbie Blaha and I turned my affections elsewhere. Today, with all the social media and the onset of texting as the primary means of teenaged communication, I think the social aspect of lockers may be missed. Being thrown, albeit alphabetically, next to kids from every different facet of the social sphere, you know, if a sphere had facets, was unique to the locker assignment. Where else would brains or the popular kids routinely be placed next to geeks or next to jocks or next to stoners?

But it occurs to me CPS will probably not be able to do away with the school locker until they find a way to do with another tardy-causing, costly annoyance: The Chicago Winter. (Most of the schools mentioned in the USA Today story were in more temperate climates.) A case in point: My son once forgot his coat on a chair in his high school cafeteria, only to remember it seconds later. He quickly ran back for it, but it was gone faster than you could say Columbia Crest, which doesn't make any sense because Columbia Crest makes Chardonnay, Mom, so where is your head at? Ahem. The new winter coat disappeared faster than you can say "Columbia Sportswear."

So, unless they expect our kids to wear their coats and gloves and scarves around all day along with their ebooks and ereaders and elunches (!?), I can take solace in knowing at least one less artifact from my childhood, the school locker, will disappear from my childrens’. I only wish I could have said the same thing about the resurgence of those bell-bottomed jeans.

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