Locker Leak Warnings: Should we really be responsible for ruined books?

Fernando Perez, Staff Writer

One of the many fliers around campus warning students about leaky lockers.
Fernando Perez / The Freelancer
One of the many fliers around campus warning students about leaky lockers.

La Serna, rain season is upon us. After this school year’s first heavy rain, fliers warning students about leaking lockers and textbook damage have appeared all over campus. This is common knowledge, but the emphasis on student obligation to protect their books from things out of their control has some frustrated. When students receive their textbooks, they all know that it is their responsibility to care for the books. But when school lockers begin to leak around campus, even under “protective” awnings, students have to worry about not only their textbooks but also their personal belongings.

After this school year’s two rain showers, there have already been many students who have ruined textbooks and notebooks. This includes La Serna junior Fabian Pinedo, whose Spanish book was damaged by the rain. Pinedo said, “When I saw it had rained, I didn’t think it was a big deal, but that changed pretty quickly when I saw that my book was water damaged. The book alone costs like $75, not accounting for my notebooks.” Having students pay for the books if they are lost or stolen is expected, but when the books are kept in metal lockers under awnings, they are expected to be safe. Yes, students can simply check the weather and take the books home, but the weather can only be so accurately predicted. Not only are students’ textbooks being damaged, but their valuable notes and papers.

The lockers students are assigned serve a specific purpose: to store the belongings of students so that they don’t have to carry heavy books around or to and from school. When it rains and students have to take all their books home, it defeats the entire purpose of having a locker. Having to carry around all your books is not usually something students are keen to. The fliers that are up around campus say to students, “Leave Items in Locker at Your Own Risk.” Sophomore Keith Gaskarth is very opposed to this statement, and said of this policy, “I think that it is unreasonable that we should have to pay for their books when they get damaged by water in their lockers. The school should take extra precautions and water-proof the lockers or fix the awnings if they don’t want books to get damaged. Do they really expect us to lug our textbooks to school and back every single day? What’s the point of having a locker then?” Many students hold such strong convictions about this issue, and for good reason. La Serna is a great school, but should take care of slight issues that cause damage to books that can cost over one hundred dollars each.

Though the school is unlikely to actually repair all the awnings on campus to prevent water leakage, there are still precautions individual students can take. French teacher Kirsteen Gallacher suggests that students use trash bags to protect their valuable books and notebooks.  Students can also purchase locker shelves to keep their books off of a wet locker surface. Despite these preventive actions, students are always susceptible to textbook damage. The only way to guarantee safe lockers is to stop water before it even reaches them.