Baldwin on Long Island becomes first school district in nation to switch to high-tech, hands-free smart lockers

Long Island school district gives lockers a high-tech upgrade

BALDWIN, N.Y. -- High school lockers could soon be going the way of the marble notebook.

In one school district on Long Island, they're being replaced with smart lockers.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday, the Baldwin School District is the first in the nation with this high-tech hands-free system.

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We all had one and some of us had a harder time with those indelible three numbers. Dr. Shari Camhi, the superintendent of the Baldwin School District, said there's a special place in her heart for 29, 15 and 25.

"I remember practicing my locker combination a hundred times before the first day of high school," Camhi said.

"It was really nerve racking to get the combination right," added 10th grader Asia Dowe.

But there was something about those iconic lockers that made us feel older.

"It represented a sense of growing up, a sense of high school," 10th grader Solomon Ruff said.

"It was definitely a path into adulthood," Camhi added.

But when one door closes, another one opens. In Baldwin, the district is replacing all 1,600 of them with smart lockers.

Most of the kids haven't used lockers in years, a high school experience swiped by COVID. But soon they'll have bigger and better lockers. The district is investing $900,000 in a security upgrade that was partially paid for with a grant.

"God forbid, in the event of a threat, we can centrally lock all the lockers or open all the lockers with the press of a button," Camhi said.

Identification cards will get students in and out of the new smart lockers, and just about everywhere else.

"We are getting rid of regular keys. The library, the cafeteria, attendance will all be through the use of a swipe," Camhi said.

So when you walk down the high school's hallways, it will no longer feel like a trip down memory lane, but rather a brave new world, offering a new form of coming of age.

"I think it represents a new era for learning. Our environment should be as updated as our learning," a student named Allison said.

Meanwhile, discovered behind the metal frames was a time capsule of sorts, featuring lost homework and notes that never made it home.

"A note from a teacher from 1959 indicating for the parent that their child is not doing well in Spanish. A faculty gathering, perhaps maybe in the late '50s. Vote in the 1992 elections," Principal Dr. Neil Testa said.

The old lockers will be sold for scrap metal. The new lockers will soon store generations of new memories.

Students should be in their new smart lockers right after the holidays.  

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