Sunday, September 09, 2007
posted by Q6 at 4:14 PM
We've adopted a new practice this year: instead of allowing the students to use their own padlocks on their lockers, we're requiring them to purchase them from us. The thinking behind this has very little to do with being an ASB fundraiser and has more to do with locker repair. When students use their own locks and they malfunction, or the kid forgets the combination, or loses the key, or something weirder*, we've had to go in with bolt cutters and snap the locks off. This treatment is actually very harsh on the lockers themselves, and we've broken several latches as a result. The locks we now require them to use--we call them "school locks"--have a key access in the back so that we can get in when we need to. The bolt cutters are now gathering dust somewhere, and the lockers no longer wince when we try to open them.

Now other schools use this "school lock" procedure, too, and and they use it very successfully. My objection had very little to do with locker damage, but liability. See, other schools who use this method usually have some way of securing the campus from people in the off hours. Our campus is open 24/7, so people could show up in the middle of the night and do what they want to; which is why some people started using the $20, 2" brass lock rather than the $3 cheeseball combination lock. My point is this: If we force the students to use an inferior lock to the one they would choose to use, and things get stolen, don't we carry some of the liability? I brought this argument up last year, and I brought it up again over the summer.

For a district that made me shut down my Q&A blog due to liability concerns, they don't seem to care much about it when it comes to this. Liability is funny like that, I guess.

* The locks that most students use when they have a choice are the black-faced dial combination locks that cost less than five bucks. The ones we use aren't any different, except for the key access. These locks can actually be broken open quite easily; I once saw a kid get one open in under ten seconds with a skateboard (by bringing it down on the lock with a rather quiet "crack") and the lock wasn't even damaged. It still worked. So some kids would show up and do this to two locks, then switch them on the lockers. The complaint "someone else's lock is on my locker" doesn't sound unusual at all to me anymore.