Disruptive TikTok pattern causes extra work for WHS custodial workers, damages bogs | Native Information
BOONE – The devil licks challenge, a TikTok viral trend encouraging students to steal and destroy school toilets, has made its way through Watauga High School.
The trend has annoyed the already understaffed guards at WHS.
The fad has impacted WHS bathrooms in many ways, including stolen soap dispensers, inappropriate sentences on the walls, and items thrown on the ceiling.
“When we find it, we’re definitely taking steps to draw the consequences that come with what you’ve done,” said Assistant Principal Rachel Shepherd. “We need children who understand that it’s not just about fun and games. This causes an enormous amount of work for our guards, who are fantastic, but are already understaffed and overwhelmed. “
Shepherd said the consequences can range from school-level disciplinary action to criminal charges, both of which can seriously impact future jobs and student admission to college. Students who participated also felt the financial impact of their actions.
“Students and their families were billed hundreds of dollars in damages this year,” said WHS Director Chris Blanton.
Even students who did not take part feel the effects of the trend.
“I think two toilets were closed for about 30 minutes one day to remove graffiti,” said Blanton.
WHS administrators urge students not to join the disruptive trend.
Vandalism around the school has impacted the day-to-day work of WHS supervisors as staff are constantly being dragged away from cleaning the hallways and common area of the school so they can repaint or replace missing hardware. The life of the custodians outside of work are feeling the strain.
“My family has cost me a lot of time because I have to work long hours,” said Brent Presnell, WHS facility manager.
Presnell is not alone. Other custodians have been overwhelmed by the trend and the damage it has done.
“If you get a call because someone has written something disgusting on the bathroom or torn it off the wall, the stuff has to be dealt with immediately,” said supervisory board member Rebecca Battern. “It brings me back to getting my stuff done, and it looks to other people that I’m not doing my job.”
Both Presnell and Battern hope for improvements in student behavior so that they can get back to their normal school jobs and have a message for the students.
“Listen, focus your time on school. Focus on the sport. Focus on your hobbies, ”said Presnell. “We will incriminate you. At some point we’ll find out and you don’t want that in your file and you think of other people besides yourself. “
While the TikTok trend may seem like a quick joke to get some views, the actions have real ramifications.
“I would think about it before making these decisions. It’s nothing cool. It’s not great, ”said Presnell. “It’s very immature. We’re in high school. Let’s come here, do our schoolwork, enjoy these four years and not take up the time of the administration and my staff. “
A relatively new school building was made available to the students of the WHS. Presnell finds it regrettable that students use such a beautiful building in such an unruly way.
“If you walk down the hall, be proud of your school. If there is trash on the floor even if it’s not yours, just do something good, stop and pick it up, ”Presnell said. “Be proud of your school because you are very lucky. You all have a lot of resources here, a really nice school, and there are a lot of other schools that don’t have them. Buy one and be proud of it. “
Friendliness is always encouraged at WHS. Battern hopes TikTok can leave more positive impressions on the students.
“I just think it would be great if kids might do something friendly for TikTok or pass it on to help an administrator,” said Battern.
Anna Anderson is a journalism student at Watauga High School’s school newspaper, the Powderhorn. This article was published in collaboration with the Watauga Democrat, Mountain Times Publications, and the WHS Journalism Class.