A northwest B.C. college removes toilet doorways to deal with ‘disturbing’ TikTok problem
A TikTok bathroom challenge encouraging students to ravage school toilets forced a Terrace secondary school to remove the front doors to their toilets.
As part of the challenge, dubbed “devil licks” on September 1, students record vandalism and theft of items from school washrooms and post the videos on TikTok.
Keith Axelson, director of Caledonia Secondary School, said staff had noticed an accumulation of vandalism in several bathrooms in the building since the fall.
The school staff was made aware by the students that these activities were part of a social media challenge.
The school’s solution to the problem was to remove the exterior bathroom doors. Since then, no vandalism activity has been reported in the bathrooms, said Axelson.
Janet Meyer, the headmistress of Coast Mountain School District 82 who oversees Caledonia Secondary, said that by removing the door, the school made sure it didn’t violate privacy.
“We would never sacrifice a person’s right to privacy and would not have taken the door out if it had compromised the privacy of the students,” said Meyer.
CMSD82 will not take a district-wide approach to this problem, but will deal with individual cases and call the school management if further problems arise, said Meyer.
Except for Caledonia, no schools in the district reported such nonsense.
The school has also reached out to the families of the students so that the parents can be informed.
Meyer also said that after reviewing an unofficial list of these TikTok challenges (one for each month), she found the trends “troubling” as some of them border on discrimination and harassment.
All of the listed challenges facing out for the coming months are disruptive in nature, including vandalism, physical violence, theft, and sexual harassment, among others.
For example, the October challenge was to hit a staff member who encouraged students to walk up to a teacher and hit him before he ran away.
The school has not yet provided any information about the other “challenges”.
The challenges and the list are not published by TikTok, and some of them are even challenged as “hoax” challenges after no videos were found on TikTok.
When asked, TikTok said they expect their community to stay safe and create content responsibly.
“Content that promotes or enables dangerous challenges and illegal behavior is not allowed on our platform and will be removed,” a TikTok spokesman told the Terrace Standard.
Like most social media platforms, TikTok now has moderation tools and features that allow the removal of content or accounts that violate community guidelines.
The company said it also hired an independent agency, Praesidio Safeguarding, to better understand the engagement of young people with potentially harmful challenges and hoaxes.