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Seniors Have Lottery for Vacant Gym Lockers

A recent discovery of unused gym lockers in the girls’ locker room prompts the administration to use a lottery system to give the lockers to female seniors. Art/Photo Request: female senior standing in front of a gym locker

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By David Chen

The insufficient number of lockers in both the girls’ and boys’ locker rooms at Stuyvesant poses a problem for seniors who do not receive gym lockers. Typically, seniors are expected to use their lockers on the first or second floor to store their belongings. This has caused some inconvenience when they have their Physical Education (P.E.) classes, especially since all P.E. classes require students to arrive on time, have their backpacks stored away, and wear their gym uniforms.

Due to a recent discovery of vacant lockers in the girls’ locker room, a Google Form was sent out via Director of Family Engagement Dina Ingram’s Weekly Update #4 and Assistant Principal of Physical Education and Safety Brian Moran for female seniors to participate in a locker lottery. The lottery officially ended on September 20.

Senior Ruby Friedman of the Wellness Council Coalition initially confirmed with P.E. teachers Silvana Choy, Jenna Freytag, and Rebecca Morel that there were 114 empty and unused lockers in the girls’ locker room. Friedman notified Moran that same day and proposed the idea of making use of the empty lockers for seniors. “I ended up talking with him for 10 to 15 minutes and I convinced him,” Friedman said.

After debating how to distribute the unused girls’ lockers among seniors who potentially wanted one, the Wellness Council Coalition and Moran ultimately settled on using a lottery system. “There are a lot of seniors. If you cut them in half, [as] a lot of people are in rollerblading and Polar Bear that’s on the first floor [and probably won’t] come up to the changing room anyways, we felt like this was probably the easiest and most effective way [...] to do it now. We can get it implemented this month,” senior and leader of the Wellness Council Coalition Hailey Seltzer said.

As for the boys’ locker room, the Wellness Council has yet to confirm the number of unused lockers, but it is estimated to be fewer than that in the girls’ locker room, resulting in complications if the lottery program were to be expanded to male seniors. “The boys’ locker room [doesn’t] have as many open lockers as [the girls’]. I believe they have 40 or 50. We’re actually trying to check on the lockers [in the boys’ locker room] and count them right now, but they definitely have a lot less [than the girls’], so we’re still trying to think if it would be [...] worth it to do the [same] lottery system,” Seltzer said. “You’re still going to have the same demand [where] 200 kids want a locker.”

As a result of the lack of lockers, most seniors change in the student bathroom stalls instead of the locker rooms, causing overcrowded bathrooms and a struggle to change on time for the start of the next class. “My gym is on the sixth floor and my locker is on the first floor. I have to run down, get my regular clothes, and run to the second-floor bathroom. Once I get there, there’s 10 other kids changing so we have to wait there until kids either finish using a stall, or some kids just change right in front of the sink,” senior Esther Kim said. “There have been times where I had to run to class because I was almost late.”

Though juniors currently have access to gym lockers, many express apprehension for next year if the administration does not add more gym lockers for seniors. “I feel like bathrooms already clog up on the second and third floors around warning bell time […] I would prefer if there were to be [gym] lockers, and I definitely think the system can use a change,” junior Joanna Meng said.

A solution proposed by some is to utilize the space in the locker room shower area to install new lockers. “I think that [installation] would be good because, to be honest, I don’t really see people ever using the showers,” senior Jet Li said. “Maybe [those with] the lockers right outside the pool might use it but [not] in terms of the regular gym locker rooms.”

Others believe that the availability of lockers for seniors should be decided on a voluntary basis. “To be honest, I don’t really use the gym locker because I find it inconvenient, but I do think the lack of gym lockers for seniors could be detrimental,” junior Amy Zhang said. “A possible solution would be for the school administration to send a survey before the school year to gauge out how many people would like to use a gym locker, instead of giving everyone one, and then go from there. If I could, I would just give mine away as I’m not using it.”

Aside from seniors, concerns have also arisen regarding the lack of gym lockers for transgender students. “There are always going to be problems with the locker rooms [with] gender-[nonconforming] people, [especially] if they don’t feel comfortable changing [there]. The bathrooms are a very viable option, but [they] are usually taken over by anyone else who actually needs to use the bathroom instead of changing in them,” Seltzer said. “Opening that issue up to administration [and] Spectrum [...] is a great idea. Expanding gender-neutral options, I think, is the next step to reforming the bathrooms.”

In the future, Moran hopes to install additional lockers and expand this accessibility to those from all grade levels. “We were able to offer a locker to all 182 seniors who requested a locker. [The administration] has been working to increase the number of lockers in both the hallway and locker rooms. We are trying to make it so students can have a P.E. locker for all four years, but we don't have the capacity for seniors in the locker room as of yet,” Moran said in an e-mail interview. “I am also looking into shared locker options for next year, to help get all students access to a P.E. locker.”