Locker room changes spark controversy

Zara Denison, Staff Writer

Everyone needs access to the locker room; students taking gym members of sports teams and anyone who needs to store a bag somewhere. In light of an incident that took place last year at Damascus, higher security measures were implemented to keep students safe.

Since the implementation of new locker room rules, students have been frustrated by the lengths they’ve had to go to in order to deal with these new regulations.Students don’t seem to know much about what the new policy entails, only that it has caused major inconvenience to their routines. Athletic director Alton Lightsey declined to comment but did say that “coaches or gym teachers have to lock the locker room after 2:50 and nobody can be in them.”

It’s important to recognize the reason behind the changes, and it is known amongst the students that these new rules and regulations are enacted in all parts of the country, with students’ safety in interest. The issue most students are having with these rules is the small windows of time they have access to the locker rooms. “They don’t open the locker rooms until really close to the first bell sometimes so I have to carry my football stuff with me during the day,” sophomore Justin McGraw said.

Being blocked off from places athletes need to be goes beyond the locker room. “Wootton poms has practice everyday after school…as a team we sit in the cafeteria, which is where our practice is located until about 2:45, which is when we get in our practice gear and start stretching. But this year, it has been established that we are no longer allowed to wait there, which is frustrating because that is where the bathrooms are and it pushes back our practice time,” senior Julia Bogart said.

This isn’t the first time these new restrictions have caused a problem for sports. The day of the first pep rally, the locker room was locked when students tried to get in at the end of the day. This resulted in a huge buildup in the hallway and some students being late to their practices.

Students feel confused and frustrated with these changes. “I don’t understand the difference between waiting in the hallway without a coach and waiting in the cafeteria without a coach,” senior Julia Bogart said.

Although there have been issues, since the start of the year the gym staff and coaches have been helpful with allowing students to drop their stuff off in the morning. “There have been several times in the past both this year and last where the locker room hasn’t been open until right when school starts, which has been pretty frustrating because I don’t always feel comfortable leaving my gear out in the hallway but recently it’s been open when I get to school, which has been really nice,” junior Erin Chang said.