Local News

Locker cleanout surprises some who howl foul in Fayetteville

Posted June 10, 2008

— “No more homework, no more books” goes the old children’s rhyme, and some students at Terry Sanford High School found out it was true sooner than they expected when the school did a locker cleanout.

The kids say school staffers threw away gym clothes, homework – even i-Pods. The school says it did not trash anything and that there had been enough warning that the cleanout was coming.

"I got gym clothes, like a pair of new shoes, a bunch of t-shirts and my planner" that disappeared, rising sophomore Lars Gordon said Tuesday.

"Someone came to my locker – it was one of the janitors – and they cut the lock off my locker, and the janitor dumped it on the floor," Gordon charged.

Everything went into the trash, Gordon guessed.

Principal Diane Antolak said that’s wrong – and she said students had been told a week ago Monday that the cleanout was coming.

She said she wasn’t aware of anything being tossed in the garbage and stressed that nobody has been Dumpster-diving for lost property.

"Our intention was to allow students to keep books in their lockers for the last couple of days, but to take home things that they no longer needed," Antolak said.

Some students grumbled that if you were absent for the locker sweep, tough luck.

"Like, if your friends didn't get your stuff out of your locker, then it was like thrown away," student Jordan Webster said.

In fact, Antolak said, material from lockers was put by the door of the media center so students could claim items.

Antolak says she wanted staffers to empty the lockers of students no longer enrolled at Terry Sanford and put their stuff in one central spot. However, current students who missed the deadline to empty their lockers and to have their locks off also got swept up.

Antolak sent out a message, including by e-mail, announcing that a locker sweep would take place last Wednesday. Students were to be accompanied by their homeroom teachers to remove everything but the most essential school materials, she said.

"Part of learning is to learn the responsibility that there are deadlines, and the principal said on that date, you'll have your locker cleaned out. And some students didn't," said Tim Kinlaw, associate superintendent of the Cumberland schools.

Nonetheless, the principal has issued an apology for the confusion, and she says that she plans to better communicate with students and staff next year when it’s time to take out the trash from all those lockers.

She said that about a half-dozen parents have called to complain about the sweep.

“Every parent that I’ve talked to, I have apologized and said we’ll do whatever it is we can do to rectify the situation,” Antolak said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • shep8851 Jun 11, 2008

    Just as a simple suggestion from a high school teacher. Stop by any high school on the last day of school, or the day after and take a gander at the mountain of "stuff" kids leave in their lockers..Not just books, papers, etc., but clothing ( not junk stuff either), shoes, sweaters, you name it. For any high school that tries to control cell phones in school, look at how many are taken from students ( after being well and repeatedly warned ) and are never reclaimed. So, crying crocodile tears for all the "stuff" the kids lost is a waste of time. Its not so much they didn't know--it was they just didn't care.

  • SG Jun 11, 2008

    Oh Well... Better luck next year!

  • seidenberg Jun 11, 2008

    If a deadline is part of the real world, then what is the state legislature and congress at budget time - Fantasyland?

  • yruatwit Jun 11, 2008

    "Like", if you can't follow simple instructions "Like" you're going to lose your stuff, "Like" we gave plenty of advance notice, "Like" it's not our fault if you chose to be a moron and ignore our instructions, "Like" you know what I mean? Obviously, English books were not one of the items removed from lockers.

  • BUCKEYEnNC Jun 11, 2008

    Here's something that WRAL isn't reporting. I doubt they know this.

    Many of the items were actually thrown away in dumpsters. After realizing the mistakes, the custodians had students from special ed hop in the dumpsters to retrieve the disgarded items.

    Have fun!

  • dpcallah Jun 10, 2008

    I don't know why so many people are defending to school. Regardless if they were warned (which apparently they weren't) The school took their personal belongings away. It's called stealing actually. Those lockers were assigned to the students until the end of the school year. Why couldn't the school wait until school was out to clean out the lockers?

    Or is that the lesson you guys are talking about? The people who are in control will steal your stuff? Tough luck pal? You guys have some screwed up morals.

  • gigisparrow Jun 10, 2008

    And just FYI, this locker clean-out occurred last Tuesday, June 3, during exam week. There were many students that had projects, assignments, notes, textbooks, etc. taken out of their lockers that they either still needed to turn in for a grade or needed to use to study for an exam.

  • gigisparrow Jun 10, 2008

    As a member of the Fayetteville community, I want to set the record straight. Students at Terry Sanford High School were NOT told in advance that their belongings would be taken out of their lockers if they did not clean them out. There was NO deadline given to underclassmen. Students were under the impression that they could leave things in their lockers that they still needed, since they still had 2 exams left to take. However, after students were given an opportunity to throw trash and other items not needed out of their lockers, the decision was made to go ahead and clean everything out, WITHOUT telling the students or the teachers that they were doing so. The announcement that was made at the school on the day of locker clean-out told students to clean trash out, but to leave books and notebooks that they might still need and to put their locks back on their lockers. There was absolutely no mention to the students whatsoever that their belongings would be taken out.

  • dshell99 Jun 10, 2008

    when i was in school, we cleaned out our lockers ourselves during the afternoon on a designated day. the combinations on the lockers weren't changed til after the last day of school. that way if it rained, got cold, or did anything else crazy the weather in the midwest is known for, you still had your locker to store your stuff. anything left over was turned into lost and found. this idea is good b/c it minimizes the chances of a school having to replace some kid's cell phone or ipod or other equally expensive item. not only does it put the responsibility of getting the locker cleaned out in the hands of the student, it covers the school's legal behind as well. everyone wins! i did have a similar problem with an umbrella (it rained that morning) on the last day in jr high. but my dad called and we got it back. no big. what happened to lost and found anyways?

  • LibertarianTechie Jun 10, 2008

    "Part of learning is to learn the responsibility that there are deadlines, and the principal said on that date, you'll have your locker cleaned out. And some students didn't," said Tim Kinlaw, associate superintendent of the Cumberland schools.". Yep! Bingo! Right on! Exactly! There are deadlines in life--learn to follow them! Secondly, only books and notebooks should be in them anyway. Besides, what are you doing leaving gym clothes in your locker--that's nasty? Its called hygiene; not to mention iPOD's aren't essential for school!