By Jennie Wang

Even after receiving their combination locks, almost no freshmen this year bothered to look for or use their lockers.

Many of them cited the reason as the size of the high school and the limited time for moving between bells. Instead, students prefer to carry their backpacks from class to class, only leaving them behind for lunch.

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Students move between classes carrying their backpacks. In the hallways most of the lockers are empty. (Photo by Jennie Wang)

Freshman Camille Miner said that she’d never even attempted to find hers. “The school’s very big, and a lot of my classes are very spread out,” she said. “So, it’s very hard to transport from one area to the next, and then put your binders and notebooks in lockers.”

Miner also said that although there are days when she carries all her binders, it “doesn’t bother [her] much.”

This mindset is easy to see in the school’s hallways. Very few of the hundreds of lockers lining the hall have locks on them, and students are primarily seen carrying their backpacks with them to their classes.

This has been going on for the past few years. Junior Serena Li said that she didn’t use the lockers or know where hers was either. Li said that bringing backpacks everywhere was “more convenient for everyone.”

Though the students seem to find no problem with simply carrying their backpacks everywhere with them, health professionals find issue with it.  

Mrs. Chaff, a nurse at AHS, said, “I understand what the struggle is, but it’s obviously a problem because [of] what people are carrying. I don’t think people really even recognize anymore how much stress they’re putting on their shoulders and back.”

Students often go the clinic with complaints about headaches and pain, which Chaff believes is related to the strain on their necks from carrying heavy backpacks.

Mrs. Gibson, another nurse, said, “I think [students] stress being in places on time.
Then it’s the location of the lockers. For some kids, especially freshmen, it’s in a different location. It’s stressful–it causes anxiety.”

Gibson and Chaff think that there are some ways to alleviate the issue. They both recommend using a rolling backpack instead of carrying one.

Chaff said, “I would hope it would become less of a problem as the textbooks go more online and people carry less heavy books and binders and have a more digital media.”

Health teacher Mrs. McVeigh said, “I think it puts undue stress on the back and I think some backpacks I’ve picked up are close to thirty, forty pounds. That’s a lot. In some cases that’s one-third of your body weight, and we know that that can cause damage to the neck and the back, especially over a long time.”

McVeigh added, “My hope is that next year with lengthening the school day that hopefully we can add a couple of minutes to our passing time. Maybe having an extra couple of minutes would then give people time to put their backpacks in lockers and feel that they’re still going to make it to class on time,  and so it’ll alleviate a little of that.” stress.”