Keep your locker room safe for all your students as they get ready for class with these helpful tips. In most cases, every student in your middle or high school has a cell phone and/or a laptop, so every one of us must have a plan in place to keep these items out of the locker room. Do you have a plan? Is your plan effective? How do you enforce it? Are parents and students made aware of the plan? Does your administration support it? These are all questions you need to ask yourself and your fellow PE teachers. If you currently have no plan in place, I strongly encourage you to create one prior to the start of the school year this coming Fall. We all want to think our students would never cross that line, but we are also realistic and know that some students make poor decisions!
Please understand that even with all the precautions in the world, there is always the possibility of a student choosing to use his/her cell phone to record another student, and you just need to be certain to have a plan in place to deal with it!
Tip #1 – Set Expectations
On the first day of school, on your syllabus and/or on your class website, make sure you have made it very clear what your policy is for electronic devices, such as cell phones and computers, is for in your locker room! Our policy is very simple, NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES OF ANY KIND ARE PERMITTED IN THE LOCKER ROOMS! We make this very clear to both parents and students that any device will be confiscated and given to administration. We also indicate that if the administration and teachers feel any pictures or videos were taken in the locker room that the phone will be searched and the police may be called. We also explain to students and parents that this rule is for the protection of ALL students. Our parents appreciate this policy and support the enforcement of it as well.
Tip #2 – Signs, Signs, Everywhere There are Signs!
I strongly encourage you to put signs up at all entry points to your locker rooms. I know sometimes signs get overlooked by students, but if you tell them about the signs at the beginning of the year and remind them periodically, you are doing everything you can to be proactive to prevent the devices from entering the locker room.
Tip #3 – Storage
If they can’t take the devices into the locker room, where can they put the devices? This is a question we got from both students and parents, so make sure you have a couple options. We give our students two choices to place ALL electronic devices. And you need to remember that every student in our high school has a school issued laptop, so this is a real problem for us. Our first choice for students and the one we strongly encourage them to choose is for students to go to their personal hallway lockers between classes and deposit ALL electronic devices in their lockers, which are locked and have a personal locker combination to keep their items safe. We have some students who do not have time between classes to get to their locker before they are late to our class, so we came up with our second option for these students.
In the hallway outside our locker rooms, we have a cabinet that can be locked that has room for students to place all their electronic devices before entering the locker rooms. I will say the only big issues we have with this option is 1) students forgetting their items at the end of class and 2) students accidentally picking up the wrong laptop (they all look the same). These two options have been effective for us as a staff and our students do a pretty good job of utilizing their options.
Again, like I said, we have students who intentionally break our policy. When this happens, we immediately handle the situation. We also have students who absentmindedly walk into the locker rooms with a cell phone or laptop, and we handle this as well. Most of our students that do this immediately either run out of the locker room or immediately run to the PE teacher’s office and confess.
I will say the one area that we as teachers are struggling with is what to do after school when students flood the locker rooms to get ready for practices or to utilize the fitness center after school. We have had many conversations with our administration about this and we are all not sure how to monitor this when there is no teacher in the locker room. All we can hope is that our students have heard our message and concerns about electronics in the locker room and stay safe!
Please share your thoughts and what your plan is to keep your locker room safe! I always love to hear what others are doing, so that if someone has a better plan I can make changes to improve my plan as well!