By KAYLEE BECKER-GEORGE – There are a lot of students at IHS who don’t use their lockers, which leads to them carrying all their books, folders, and notebooks in their backpacks. Back problems can stem from this, which can hinder students in sports and prevent them from pursuing other extracurricular activities.
There are many students who find it easier to completely ignore their lockers and save time by keeping everything in their book bags. Sophomore Grace Wadding says, “I have my backpack, so I don’t find it useful to use my locker.”
Some students don’t know their combination or how to dial it in. There are some students who don’t even know where their lockers are, like freshman Jesse Greve who says, “I don’t know my locker combination or where it [his locker] is.”
There are also students who only use their locker once throughout the day, like freshman Dustin Miller, who says “I only use my locker to get my jacket out of it.”
The New York Times recently did a study showing that, on average, backpacks weigh about 18 pounds, though some weighed up to 30 pounds. Due to modern technology, more textbooks are online, but there are still some teachers who require one to be used. Depending on a student’s schedule, this can mean a lot of weight being put on a student’s back. This is even worse for students who walk to and from school. Even if a student doesn’t carry textbooks, there is still their Chromebook and all their folders, papers, and notebooks, all of which can add up to a pretty substantial weight.
A student’s backpack should be no more than 10% of their body weight. If these limits are exceeded, back pain can become a problem. If a student is experiencing severe back pain, that means that their book bag is probably too heavy.
For the students who do use their lockers, another problem exists. Some students leave their lockers unlocked so that next time, all they have to do is open it. This, unfortunately, increases the risk of theft. The point of a locker is to keep it locked. If it is open, someone could literally go down the hall and push up on the lockers, making thieving easier.
Using a backpack can’t be completely avoided, so here are some tips on how to properly wear your backpack so that it cuts down on back pain and makes it easier to manage. First, students should wear backpack with both shoulder straps. It may seem like an inconvenience, though it only takes a second, but it really helps. It distributes the weight across the shoulders so that not all of it is focused in one place.
Second, the backpack should be high on the back and the straps should be comfortable. It should not be so high that the straps are choking the person wearing it, but the backpack also shouldn’t be all the way down the back. Third, if a backpack has a waist strap or a pectoral strap, a strap that connects the shoulder straps across the chest, then it should be used. The waist strap distributes some of the weight to the waist. The pectoral strap helps by keeping the shoulder straps in place so they don’t move too much and chafe the shoulders.
Students can increase their locker usage in multiple ways. To start, if a student doesn’t know where their locker is or where to find it, they should find out through the office. Then, the student should think about their schedule and plan as many trips to their locker throughout the day as they can. It can also be determined by which classes require the most materials.
The way students treat their backs during school could affect many things in their outside lives. It is vital for students to start utilizing the school-given lockers to their advantage to cut down on back problems and improve performance inside and outside of school.
[Photo by Kaylee Becker-George]
Photo Caption: “Freshman Gregory Kenning opens his locker after class.”