The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Why are the Girls Locker Rooms Locked?

Kira Lancaster

If you are a female athlete, it is likely you have noticed that the girls’ locker room remains locked the majority of the school day, which is inconvenient when students use the room to store a change of clothes or items for sports. While it is frustrating to not have all-day access to the locker rooms, it is important to understand the reasons behind this decision.

The girls’ locker room is locked during the day while the boys’ remains unlocked. This is due to the presence of a male P.E. teacher or security guard who has access to the boys’ locker room while the school lacks a female supervisor. However, the primary reason behind locking the locker rooms is a result of the school’s desire to keep the MIHS campus safe and responsible.

“When there are spaces that don’t have cameras, they tend to be secured so people don’t do awful things,” MIHS Principal Nick Wold said. “We’ve seen the use of illegal substances inside those locker rooms, we’ve seen fights–a lot of different things. So we need to do a better job of [maintaining] a safe environment in those spaces so that is why you’ve seen [fewer] hours for people to use it. That doesn’t mean that they can’t use it, just that they need to coordinate with our P.E. staff.”

Illegal activities and irresponsible decisions have been an issue in the locker rooms and spread to other school activities including out-of-school activities. These actions often come down to social pressure and lack of education on subjects like alcohol or drugs.

“It would be nice to believe that kids will make the right choices,” MIHS security guard Kelly John-Lewis said. “I also believe that if … the parents are aware I don’t believe it’s the school’s responsibility [to stop that behavior] or [that] they should take that type of responsibility on.”

Unfortunately, when bad decisions are made in school-sanctioned areas or events, they fall to the responsibility of the high school. Consequences are constantly changing but currently the school is implementing a more educational path to handle these actions.

“We are trying to take more of a restorative justice approach where we are trying to have a teaching moment,” John-Lewis said. “But unfortunately we are forced to take away more resources from [students who are] abusing them. It’s frustrating that a few [students] are making it rough for everybody [so] we can’t let that type of behavior continue, and if all we can do right now is limit that access to the people who are doing those things, that’s what we have to do.”

For this reason, the girls’ locker rooms have been closed off and the boys’ is constantly supervised to make monitoring students’ actions easier for MIHS administration.

“We hope that when people see something they say something and they have ownership for this beautiful school,” Wold said. “I’m hopeful that our students take some leadership for the school and in the spaces we have. We can always do better.”

Once students can begin to regain the trust of the school and community, privileges and resources including the locker rooms can be renewed and made easier to access.

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About the Contributor
Kira Lancaster
Kira Lancaster, Graphics Manager
Kira Lancaster (she/her) is a sophomore at MIHS and the Graphics Manager for The Islander. She enjoys music and dance and is part of the Mercer Island Drill Team at MIHS. Outside of school, her hobbies include drawing, writing and singing. Her favorite animal is a scorpion!

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