by Grace Dempsey, Justin Liu News Reporters & Lily Zarr News Editor
photo by Maureen Caulfield
The 1200s boys’ bathroom has been closed since October due to a plumbing issue that may have been exacerbated by students. Goldrick Dean Marc Banks said that the popularization of the viral “devious licks” TikTok trend may have been to blame.
“In my previous nine years of being a Goldrick dean, I’ve never had an issue like this,” he said.
The Tiktok trend, in which high school students post videos of themselves stealing objects from their schools’ bathrooms, has sparked a recent wave of vandalism across the country with stolen items ranging from towels and soap dispensers to entire sinks.
However, English teacher Jeremiah Hill said that the condition of South’s bathrooms was far from perfect even before the trend.
“I’ve seen the faucet bent over and [at] about 45 degrees. I’ve seen the paper towel dispensers pulled off the walls … [and] graffiti,” he said.
While staff can access the 1200s bathroom with a key, the closure has taken a toll on male students, guidance counselor Christopher Hardiman said.
“Students currently have to go either up to the third floor or down to the first floor. That’s a big inconvenience,” he said.
With unexpected unrest in the bathrooms, it came as no surprise to students when a toilet from the girls’ 1200s bathroom was removed from the wall, Hardiman said. He said that although originally rumored to have been caused by a student, the janitorial staff had it removed because it was broken.
Many students are dissatisfied with the condition of the bathrooms, freshman Austin Su said.
Monica Walker* said that she has resorted to using the teachers’ bathroom in the 6200s to avoid inadequate supplies.
“There’s never a lot of soap and there’s constantly a lack of female hygiene products,” she said. “The only bathroom that I’ve been in that actually has all that stuff is the teachers’ bathroom.”
Junior Jennifer Liu said that some students will always try to cause problems.
“The trend is definitely part of [the vandalism], but there are always going to be people who want to cause a ruckus,” she said.
English teacher Alan Reinstein said that student disrespect to custodians and the environment around them is also an issue.
“Students … are generally respectful to me. Sometimes that is because I have something that they need. I have some power over their grades,” he said. “If custodians don’t have something that they can have over students, then there’s a likelihood that students will not care about that and that upsets me.”
Banks said that it is important to keep South’s core values in mind and respect the facilities.
“[South is] like a little city. We have to treat things with respect in order for them to last,” he said.
Reinstein said that it is important for students to be considerate in how they treat others and their surroundings or they will face consequences.
“It’s nice to be respectful to the custodians,” he said. “Closing the bathrooms is one way of sending a signal that if they’re not going to be clean, they’re not going to be convenient.”
TikTok has since discouraged the circulation of the challenge. When “devious licks” is typed into the platform’s search bar, users are led to a link on the TikTok app that explains the harm of some online challenges and what to do if you see someone participating.
*Name changed to protect interviewee’s privacy.