TikTok Challenge Is Nightmare for School Custodians
Social media postings encouraged destruction of school restrooms
Stolen urinals, smashed floor tiles, missing soap dispensers…..this vandalism in schools across the nation isn’t the work of outsiders but of students following a new trend that went viral on TikTok, CNN reports.
The trend, called devious licks, encourages middle school, high school, and even college students to vandalize school property—most commonly restrooms—and post their results on the social media app. Although TikTok has worked to shut down the trend, removing the videos from its platform, people have shared the videos on other platforms as well.
Some schools have tried to prevent damage by locking restrooms for large potions of the school day. Administrators at two middle schools in Westerville, Ohio, restricted students’ restroom access after reports of vandalism in the district, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
“Students can still use the bathroom, but those that are available to them are also being closely monitored for who is accessing them,” said Westerville City School District spokesman Greg Viebranz.
Officials at Watkins Memorial High School in Etna, Ohio, also increased restroom monitoring and introduced an anonymous reporting system. Students at the high school ripped soap dispensers off the walls and put them in the toilets, filled sinks and toilets with paper towels, and twisted faucets until they broke. They also sprayed restrooms with chocolate milk and filled toilets and urinals in the boys’ restroom with fake blood.
Although school counselors and child psychologists are sympathetic about the extra work this damage presents to school staff, they warn that restricting restroom use is not only harmful to students’ health, it also punishes all the students for the actions of a few and can sow mistrust among the student body.
Some restroom equipment manufacturers are stepping up to help schools who have experienced this recent vandalism. GP PRO, a division of Georgia-Pacific, announced that it is providing replacement paper towel, toilet tissue, and soap dispensers at no cost to schools that have experienced students removing these items from restrooms as part of the social media trend. Schools interested in receiving this offer should contact GP PRO now through September 30, at 1-866-435-5647 or online here.