Locker Integration


As students returned to a new school year, they were greeted with changes to Blaine High School. The cafeteria was lined with plywood, outside the hammering of construction could be heard, Tuesday’s PAWS switched to iTime, and lockers were now mixed among all the grades.

For many students it was shocking to see this last switch. Senior Gavi Gunther had been assigned a dreaded brown tech ed locker her Freshman year. Although it was too tiny to fit her backpack, she had a positive experience being grouped around classmates: “When I was a Freshmen, I made friends when I recognized people in my classes near me in my locker block. I could easily meet up with my friend group.”

Things were different for Gunther after the change: “When I walked in this year, I couldn’t find my friend group. We are all scattered now.”

Gunther supports having a designated area for Freshmen, and not just a place to get to know classmates.  I can’t help out Freshmen anymore because I don’t know if people in the North Commons are lost or just loitering around.”

Other students fear being assigned the notoriously small and inconvenient brown tech-ed lockers. A Freshman, Mahren Taylor said, “I’d rather worry about getting a brown locker the first year and not worry about it rest of my school career.”

Junior Audrey Patrin felt it was unfair to upperclassmen: “If a senior gets a skinny brown locker, they won’t be able to fit all their textbooks in there.”

Some students explained that they would find an alternative, like sharing a locker, if they were assigned a brown locker.

To find out the true reasons behind the new integrated locker system, Blueprint spoke with Assistant Principal Ms. Flemming.

Blaine wasn’t the first school to use this system. Flemming explained: “Anoka High School intentionally mixed up their lockers to promote an ‘Anoka family’ feel. This allowed Seniors to set an example for Freshmen.”

After implementing this at Blaine, Flemming felt it was effective: “Blaine’s upperclassmen are more mature, and Freshmen can learn from them.” While monitoring the school halls, Flemming has rarely had to talk to Freshmen about their behavior.

In the past, the North Commons area felt like a battlefield, filled with rowdy and noisy Freshmen. Students would intentionally avoid maneuvering through it. Flemming had seen a Freshman take someone’s shoe and run away with it, while Audrey Patrin saw a student standing around in a garbage can.

Flemming explained that the lockers were also integrated to make the traditionally rough Freshman experience a little easier. “Students have told me it’s stressful to have a tiny locker tucked away in the tech ed or music ed area and having to run around to find their classes. It’s especially hard for Freshmen new to the school layout.”

Currently, the only lockers assigned are in the center of the school, in the North and South Commons, with some overflow in the tech ed area. The infamously inconvenient lockers in the music ed area are no longer used.

With students carrying around their belongings in backpacks, and more students doing PSEO or online leaves some assigned lockers unused. Champlin High School solved this by having students sign up to use lockers.

With most students in the commons areas, they have become filled by groups of all grades. Crowding is still an issue, but it will likely be alleviated by the expansion of the school in the future.

Was integrating lockers worth it? Leave your opinions and experiences with the new locker system in the comments below.