Keeping Santiago’s Locker Rooms Open After School

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Katelyn Meza, News Editor

At the sudden ring of the final school bell, an abundance of female athletes–including myself–rush to the nearest bathroom in order to beat the clock before our after-school practice starts. We arrive in herds, crowding the small space within the bathroom as the precious minutes tick by before we can consider ourselves late to our committed workouts. Most preferably, the cleanest bathrooms found in the P building, Athletic Department, and by the track are found filled with hoards of athletes struggling to change into their workout clothes. Sadly, if your sport does not provide you with the luxury of your own locker room, the bathrooms become the sole option for athletes to change. 

Personally, my daily routine of changing before practice has become an unnecessary nuisance. Once the school day finishes, I use my long strides to reach the track bathroom, slinging my gym bag over my shoulder, in hopes of a less crowded dressing room. When I reach the bathroom door, I must open it but a sliver and slip inside, so as to not to expose anyone amidst changing to the outside world. Then, noticing that all of the bathroom stalls are full, I proceed to change in the corner of the room. I balance on my sneakers as I change my attire, cautiously avoiding contact with the questionable bathroom floor.

As I get ready, crowds of other girls swarm into the room. On average, I speculate that about 15 to 25 of us fill the crowded room, frantically changing. Sometimes this number is higher, creating less room for movement and longer lines waiting for a stall to open. Sometimes, depending on the season, there are three sports teams crammed into one bathroom, annoyed and hoping to avoid their respective coaches’ disapproval for tardiness.

Some of the other athletes get creative with their changing routines. Some rush to their cars and quickly jump into their backseat, hoping no one can catch a glimpse through their car windows. Others wear their workout attire underneath their school clothes in hopes of saving time through the madness of the “bathroom rush hour.” I’ve seen every possible method every student-athlete has employed in order to arrive to their practices on time and ready to work.

This insanity can all be avoided if Santiago left their PE locker rooms open an hour after school. Even thirty minutes would suffice. Once the school day ends, the locker rooms are locked and lack the much-appreciated access all student-athletes need to comfortably change.

There are many benefits to keeping the locker rooms open and available after school. For starters, the enormous space it provides in comparison to the cramped structure of a bathroom would be unimaginably spectacular. The locker room can provide the space needed for every person to change, rather than being shoulder to shoulder. 

Another benefit includes privacy. The doorway to the locker room is blocked by its own wall and, on the inside, the abundance of locker rows provides athletes with their own security instead of the risk of someone looking inside due to a wide open door or specific angle. These two benefits are valuable when considering each athlete’s sense of comfort and security as they change into their work attire. 

If the school allows for the locker rooms to be available after school, a security guard or PE teacher can keep watch inside. Once the availability time is over, the room can be cleared and locked until the next school day. The convenience and ease of keeping the locker rooms open is definitely superior to the cramped risk of the bathrooms.

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