Too Much Weight on our Shoulders
Backpacks vs. Lockers
March 20, 2017
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At Cherry Hill East, very few students use their lockers due to having only three minutes between periods. If someone tried to stop at their locker and switch out their books, they’d be late to class, especially if they must go from the first floor up to the third.
Instead, students carry everything they need for the day on their backs. Teachers give them big binders, folders filled with worksheets, notebooks, novels, huge textbooks, and they ask them to bring everything to class every day. With four to six classes daily, students have a lot to carry on their backs.
Dr. Michael Liberman, from Liberman Chiropractic, works on high school students that wear heavy backpacks all day.
“[I can’t] necessarily see [the effect of heavy backpacks], but I can see the bi-product of it, okay. A lot of kids come in with a lot of neck and upper back problems because of the backpacks, you know that are being worn, too much pressure on that area,” said Liberman.
Most students also play at least one competitive sport that adds to their back issues. If they carry around 20 pounds on their backs every day and then go run and do other exercise, it adds up. Even if people do a lot of activities now and carry heavy bags know, it might not affect them until after college.
“When you’re 14,15,16 years old you won’t notice it, but next time you turn around you’re 28 and those problems that you’ve caused by poor posture, carrying all this weight on your back etcetera, lead to problems down the road,” said Dr. Liberman.
In order to prevent future back problems, he finds it extremely important to wear proper backpacks and to not carry too much.
One way that the weight of backpacks could be reduced is by making it easier for students to use their lockers in between classes.
“I just carry it all in my bag, it’s way easier than walking all the way upstairs and I don’t have time for that,” said Julia McCay (‘20).
Maybe if students’ locker were closer to their homerooms they could switch out their books then. Another alternative is to have longer periods of time between classes for students to go to their lockers. Eastern Regional High School has six minutes in between periods, as opposed to East’s three minutes, and most people their use their lockers.
As well, teachers could give out less papers and do more online. Many classes have supplies that are used rarely throughout the year and are just taking up space in student’s bags. If teachers cut down on the things they require students to bring in, their bags will be lighter and their backs won’t face as many issues. Even if students cannot change their backpack weight, they should keep in mind what Dr. Liberman said, “Everything we do to our bodies as kids, we pay the price for down the road.”