Controversial Confiscations: Buying and Selling Lockers

Student opinions and administration statements on locker regulations and recent confiscations.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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By Megan Huang

As the administration became aware of a Buying and Selling Lockers Facebook group earlier this fall, students who had bought or sold lockers through this group have had their lockers confiscated, their privilege to use a locker revoked, and their lunches voided.

In the beginning of this school year, a public Facebook group called “Buying and Selling Lockers for Stuyvesant 19-20” was created to provide a platform for students to exchange lockers based on factors such as locker location, or to acquire a second locker. When the administration discovered this, it changed the locks on these lockers. According to students, the administration has also started to check students at random, approaching students to ask for their Talos locker information, and checking whether or not it matches the lockers they are using.

The locker policy, written in various places such as the school planner and the school website’s “school policies” page, states that “all students must take their assigned locker, and only freshmen should be sharing lockers. Students found sharing or selling lockers will have their locker and lunch privileges revoked.”

“Lockers are the property of the school. [They] are a convenience for students. There are certain things that [the administration has] to do to maintain the integrity of the lockers as well as their safety and consistency [in order] to avoid the madness that would occur in the past,” Assistant Principal of Security, Health, and Physical Education Brian Moran said.

Many students participated in this exchange, intentionally or, more often than not, unintentionally violating the administration’s rule that the transferring and selling of lockers is prohibited. “I feel like the rules were never made clear, and I had never heard of students getting caught and punished before,” Anonymous Student A said. “It’s especially confusing since you are required to share lockers as freshmen, and after that, it was never made clear that after freshman year [sharing] is all of [a] sudden forbidden.”

The administration’s actions of removing locker access and issuing additional repercussions have been met with frustration from the students, many of whom were not aware of the rules against the exchanging of lockers. “I personally did not know that [sharing lockers] wasn’t allowed, especially since everyone else was doing it,” Anonymous Student A said.

While several students did not know about the policy, Moran believes that there is no reason for students not to be aware of it. “The expectation is that especially for students who are so actively involved, like [Stuyvesant] students are, it is [the student’s] responsibility to be aware of what the policy is,” Moran said. “[School policy] is made very clear: it is on the website, it is in the student handbook. All the information is available in writing and online.”

Students who had their lockers revoked have faced several inconveniences. “Without a locker, students are forced to carry their coats, extra bags, and other stuff around, which limits mobility in the hallway and stairs and just worsens everyone’s experience,” Anonymous Student B said. “I understand [why the lockers were revoked] since we [were] violating the rules, but it’s not a very efficient system.”

Students who did not want to have their lunches voided did not turn themselves in, and so could not re-obtain their belongings. “I had no access to my graphing calculator that I needed for three different classes. I had no access to my math textbook, and I had to replace notebooks that were left in the confiscated locker,” Anonymous Student C said.

While the administration understands the reasons that students provided for wanting to share and exchange lockers, the main issue that arises from this is the lack of record of this exchange, which creates a security issue. “If [a student] swaps [lockers] or they buy and sell, and they are not assigned to that locker, but they use that locker, there is no way for [the administration] to keep track of whose belongings are in that locker,” Moran said. “Sharing, buying, and selling can put a student at risk. [...] If there is any kind of reasonable suspicion that there is some kind of wrongdoing or there is something dangerous, [the administration] can open up lockers and search them if it is needed—only if it is reasonable.”

Additionally, the buying and selling of lockers infringes upon the intended randomness of locker assignments. “When all of the lockers are assigned randomly and students are either profiting or creating inequities based on this, it is disappointing. Not just the safety aspect, not just the fact that it is the breaking of school rules,” Moran said. “If [a student] has the means to be able to get the better locker and someone else doesn’t, that is an unfair advantage that [the administration] tries to avoid in the first place.”

Despite the administration’s hope that students would understand its disciplinary actions, the policy remains controversial and unpopular among the student body. “[There needs to be] an understanding as to why we do the things that we do. It is not to punish. It is not because we get any kind of enjoyment out of doing these kinds of things,” Moran said. “[The administration] is a small group of people [who are] managing a very large group of people. They have to be consistent. If the administration says that [the rules are as such], they have to be enforced when someone does not follow them. Otherwise, it would be chaos.”

While students admit that the regulation on lockers prevents students from selling school property for inflated prices and upholds safety in the building, they believe that voiding students’ lockers is more a matter of convenience and ease for the administration than of discipline. “In my opinion, [the deans] believe that it is easier to crack down on all buying, selling, sharing, and exchanging of lockers. They want to get rid of all that to make it easier for them,” senior Debi Saha said. “In reality, [students] are going to continue with all of that.”

Some students believe that the way lockers are assigned should be changed. “The administration should be more understanding of the way lockers are assigned and the fact that it’s more convenient for students to be able to have some choice in where their locker is or who they can share with,” Anonymous Student D said.

Students have offered several alternatives to handling the situation. One example was confronting and punishing students but not voiding their lunches, since it deters students from turning themselves in. “There are other ways to fix the situation besides just revoking students’ lockers without any warning,” Anonymous Student D said.

The administration has acknowledged students’ proposals of a system of exchanging lockers and is open to hearing ideas should they provide convenience for the school. “[This new system] would have to be manageable. If [the students] could come up with something, and [the new system] makes [the administration's] life a little bit easier, [we] would listen,” Moran said.