Photo by Haley Bell
Every school year, approximately 25 incidents of theft occur at East. Over half of these incidents happen in the boys and girls team and gym class locker rooms.
With no security cameras, no 24/7 supervision and backpacks lying around in the open, the locker rooms are the main target for those looking to snag something valuable.
Everything from cash, phones, clothes, and more have been snatched this year, and so far no one has been caught.
The school has attempted to end the thievery by creating a new job this year, locker room monitor. Vicki Rowland, emergency building substitute teacher, was assigned the position in August.
Rowland’s job is to lock the locker room doors during classes, sporting events and before and after school hours. Rowland also makes sure the girls do not snag anything during their changing time in gym, or when girls say they need to use the restroom or grab their things to leave class early.
“I try to be cognizant [when people] are in [the locker room],” Rowland said. “[I] make sure they get out quickly and don’t just hang out in there.”
The boys lockers is occasionally monitored by SRO Officer David Whisenhunt.
“Officer David has been checking the [boys] locker room, leaving notes on backpacks he finds sitting out and talking to [the boys],” SRO Officer Eric Meiske said.
The school can only go so far to prevent the thievery, the rest is up to the students. If the students don’t lock their valuables in their gym lockers then there is nothing stopping a person from taking what they see.
“We encourage people to take their phones and wallets out of their backpacks and put them in your lockers,” Officer Mieske said. “Try to help yourself out.”
Senior Kendall Dunbar left the locker room to go to weights class, then went out to lunch and came back to find her wallet, which was in the front pocket of her backpack, empty. Dunbar believes she could have avoided losing $160 if she had locked up her valuables.
“The thought of someone taking my stuff didn’t even go through my mind,” Dunbar said. “I had never locked up my backpack for the past two years.”
Emma Cannova also had $20 taken from her backpack as well as her new, Timberland boots. She remembers putting her boots on top of her locker, not inside, before cross country practice. She never thought twice about someone taking them. When she came back she found her brand new boots had vanished.
“I had never locked [my stuff] up and I had never had a problem [in the past]”, Cannova said.
Two security cameras can be found in the main hallway outside the locker rooms, however cameras cannot be placed inside of the locker rooms themselves due to privacy laws. The cameras haven’t been able to catch the thieves since the way they are positioned do not show who enters and leaves the locker rooms. Therefore, people have been able to steal things and slip away unidentified. Unless the thief is caught in the act and reported, there is no way to know who they are.
Dunbar and Cannova were allowed to look at the security camera footage after they had their items stolen. Both were frustrated at what they saw.
“There’s not really a good view [from the cameras],” Cannova said. “I couldn’t see anything.”
Stealing incidents in the locker rooms, both girls and boys, have been going on at East for years. It is not a new issue, but it is something that could go unnoticed until someone experiences it firsthand.
“You’re not going to listen until something happens to you,” Dunbar said. “[But] you don’t want [to wait] until it happens to you.”