Locker : High School As Newspaper : ??

Adorable stock photo of high school lockers because no actual photos of kids using lockers could be located.Image Source/ZUMAPRESS

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The Washington Post reports that high school kids no longer use their lockers. Instead, they stuff everything into a bag and “navigate the halls bent over by jam-packed backpacks like Himalayan Sherpas shuffling along without a base camp.” So far, so good. Excellent old-guy snark. But then reporter Joe Heim talks to a high school principal who tries to explain why:

“The high school experience has evolved where learning is anytime, anyplace,” said Ann Bonitatibus, principal at Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, where most of the school’s individual lockers were removed during a renovation last year. “The more that our campuses are like that, the more inclined our students are to have their materials with them at all times and all places so that way they’re learning at lunch, at 20-minute break periods or between classes.

Ha ha ha. Sure they are. My only question is whether Bonitatibus really believes this, or was just trying to put one over on Heim.

The real answer, of course, is: who knows? Lockers became uncool for the usual mysterious teenage reasons—probably because it annoys their parents—and now you get laughed at for using one. So nobody uses them, and if you ask why, they invent some reason or other to fob off on the oldsters:

“My school is really big,” [Isabel Echavarria] said. “It has four floors and a basement, and stopping in one specific location between each class would be ridiculous. And it’s harder to keep track of your stuff if it’s in another location.”

Uh huh. At least everyone is even here. The kids have no idea why they do it and the adults have no idea why they do it. They just do.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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