Student inflicted vandalism leads to bathroom closures and supervision

Photo+by+Desmond+Kisida.

Photo by Desmond Kisida.

Josiah Anderson

Students vandalized several bathrooms in RBHS following a trend from the social media app TikTok that’s sweeping the nation, promoting vandalism and theft, resulting in the closing of multiple restrooms. The shutdown has limited bathroom options for all students and increased the workload of the custodial staff since the beginning of September.

The RBHS bathrooms have long been under duress from vandalism, but with the perpetuation of the recent TikTok trend, not only are items like soap dispensers being spilled, but also stolen. 

Cheryl Sims, RBHS custodial supervisor, said the greatest difference in vandalism this year is the stealing of bathroom objects as the custodial warehouses can’t keep replacing items which makes the vandalism very expensive.

The restroom vandalism has been going on for a few years now,” Sims said. “The only difference is they are now stealing the soap dispensers and putting the soap all over the floor, which makes a horrible mess on its own.  It takes several weeks to get all the soap off the floor. This year, however, it started [getting] worse a few weeks ago.”

More than just a few bathrooms are vandalized as “ [students] hit them all evenly,” according to Sims. Instances include throwing fruit, like apples and oranges, against the walls, destroying paper towel dispensers and stealing them off walls preventing any form of fixation. Students have gone as far as writing on the stalls and plugging up urinals and stalls with paper towels which forces the custodial staff to unplug them.

Jacob Adams, an RBHS assistant principal, is in charge of handling building related issues and said the “senseless vandalism” has created a cycle of frustration between students, peers and teachers. He and other administrators decided to close down several of the building’s bathrooms in order to “more intently focus on the ones that we [the RBHS administration] could manage easiest.” 

“We kind of operate on a five-day policy,” Adams said. “Not really so much a policy and more like a practice. But if we’ve got five days where we haven’t had a problem, we’ll open it back up.” 

The incidents began around early September, but Adams confirmed that as of now RBHS has gotten through two days without an incident in the bathrooms. This resets the five day clock, keeping the bathrooms closed and out of use.

Students have also been affected negatively by the shutdowns. Sophomore Isaac Goble said he’s been late to class multiple times because of the closings and hasn’t seen the state of the bathrooms so poor before.

“The band bathrooms have been missing stalls for a while,” Goble said. “I can’t remember the other bathrooms being this bad. I went into the band bathroom after it was vandalized and there was soap all over the ground.” 

Sims said she felt the bathroom shutdowns were necessary but unfortunate for the school, as most students aren’t responsible for the destruction.

I really feel bad for the innocent kids that are not doing anything wrong,” Sims said. “They are the people that are getting punished. Hopefully, other kids could influence the kids that are doing all this and help put a stop to it.”

How do you feel about the impact of social media trends on everyday life? Let us know in the comments below.