Some schools in the United States have been reported to have abolished the use of lockers. Security concerns are cited as the reason for this, with the concern being that lockers may be used to store contraband items such as weapons or drugs or pornographic material. There has been some controversy over in what circumstances school authorities or law-enforcement officials are permitted to search lockers, with or without informing the users, or with or without the users being present at the time of the search, and it has been considered a civil liberties issue, particularly in the U.S.
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The storage lockers were a “pilot,” the kind of small test that city government frequently uses to test a new or controversial idea. The city offered up the lockers for individuals to use for months-long stretches. At the time, city officials warned that “misuse of the lockers, vandalism, or other unanticipated results,” could force them to cancel the project.
In schools without lockers, students are sometimes provided with two complete sets of textbooks, one set being kept at school for use in class, and the other being kept at home for referring to for homework, thus limiting the amount of heavy carrying that would otherwise be required without having lockers to store them in between classes. However, research has shown an increase in the incidence of back injuries in some students, which has been directly attributed to the lack of lockers for storing books in, thus forcing students to spend more time carrying heavy loads of books in backpacks.
Laundry lockers are used in places like hospitals and food-processing workplaces where uniforms have to be collected, laundered, then returned to their owners. The locker cabinet contains a number of very narrow lockers, each of whose doors is keyed using a key held by the owner, so that they have access only to their own locker; but the entire array of doors is embedded in a much larger door covering the entire front of the cabinet. Opening this opens all the lockers simultaneously, and requires the use of a master key which is held by whoever collects items deposited in lockers, for laundering, then returned in the same way, after which they items are accessible to owners using their individual small doors.