Shredding our shoulder blades, one lost locker at a time

The price students are paying for convenience

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A wall of lockers sits completely abandoned in the 1300 pod of NPHS. Students commonly leave their lockers empty throughout the year. "I think the only dramatic change would be if we said no backpacks," principal Scott Siegel said.

Beckett Allen, Staff Writer

The hallways at North Platte High School are lined with an array of bulky, blue lockers. However, according to a poll of 199 students conducted by the “North Platte Bulldogger,” a whopping 68.3% don’t even know which one is theirs.

While junior Aaron Franz is on par with an appropriate weight in his backpack, Franz’ way of carrying it can be improved. His straps are not tightened enough and should be on the center of his shoulders. “My locker is in the 1200 pod, and the only time I’m downstairs [is] in the 1300 pod,” Franz said. “I don’t have the time.”

A select few students actually use their locker on a regular occasion; only 50% of students who know where their locker is do so according to the survey. NPHS principal Scott Siegel said this isn’t anything new. “In the four years I’ve been here, it’s been about the same,” Siegel said. “We like to give students the freedom to decide to keep their possessions with them or not.”

One student who actually uses their locker on a regular basis is sophomore Jordan Wilson. “I only put my Pacer bag in it,” Wilson said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t use it.”

Across the state of Nebraska, similarly sized schools have yielded about the same results as NPHS; students seldom, if at all, using their lockers and relying almost entirely on the backpack. While it as seen as a very convenient option among many students, it can take a toll on the body.

Sophomore Jack Oettinger is carrying his backpack in an acceptable manner, with about 10% of his body weight in the bag and the straps centered on his shoulders. “It is so much more efficient [than a locker],” Oettinger said.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children shouldn’t be carrying more than 20% of their body weight on their back, and doing so can lead to chronic back injuries later in life. The proper way to carry a backpack is centered at the shoulders and having the straps tightened to accommodate the user.  

A common reason students don’t use their locker that is assigned to them is the location of the locker and the amount of time it takes for them to get their classes on time. “I don’t have the time to stop at my locker,” senior Jaylee Niles said. “We only have five minutes.”