CPS seeks solutions to TikTok vandalism trend

A recent TikTok trend encouraging students to “hit a devious lick” — slang for vandalism — has caused disruption in schools nationwide. In Columbia, this means a custodial staff stretched thin and a school district looking for ways to minimize damage.

Columbia Public Schools AVID , a college readiness program, said on Twitter Thursday evening that school bathrooms across the district have been vandalized.

“We are short on custodial staff and this wasteful and selfish act creates more work for folks who are doing their best to ensure scholars can learn in person,” the post read.

This wave of stealing and vandalization of school bathrooms is part of a larger trend across the nation. The trend encourages high schoolers and college-age students to “hit a lick” and post the results online. The trend has gotten out of hand in many school districts , leading to vandalism of school property.

District spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said in an email the district is “aware of the trend and (has) had a few isolated incidents addressed on a school-by-school basis.”

Baumstark added that while the custodial shortage is not because of the recent trend, the trend has affected the district’s resources negatively.

Schools across the district have been forced to close or monitor restrooms in the wake of the trend.

Eleven students came in Saturday morning to help put Lange Middle School’s bathrooms back in order after a week of vandalism.

The small but dedicated custodial staff at Lange was stretched thin dealing with the mess, and seven football players, four cheerleaders and their coaches wanted to help.

“I try to keep all the bathrooms clean during the week, but I can’t,” said Robert Lee Curnutte Jr., a custodian at Lange.

Terrance Germany, a Lange custodian, was injured after slipping on bathroom floors students had smeared with soap, Curnutte Jr. said.

With the custodial staff down one worker, some Lange students have stepped up.

“Football players and cheerleaders approached me, and they wanted to help,” said Stephanie Tranmer, the head cheerleading coach at Lange. Tranmer, football coach Ken Storla, football players and cheerleaders helped out Saturday morning from 9 to 11.Tranmer said vandalism wasn’t a problem before; it has emerged recently after the TikTok trend.“I wish they’d start a trend for kids to get enough sleep and do their homework,” Tranmer said.Lange Middle School, like all of the schools in the district, is trying to prevent the vandalism and punish those who are responsible.“Vandalism, property damage and theft all come with both school and possibly legal consequences for those involved,” Baumstark said Friday.Sandi Epple, the parent of a senior attending Rock Bridge High School, said the school had only two boys’ bathrooms open Friday morning.The trend has affected smaller and larger districts alike. Hallsville School District was forced to close nine bathrooms and locker rooms across its middle and high schools over the past week, according to a Facebook post from parent Tiffany Pohl Crowe.At a recent Lange Middle School football game, all but one bathroom were closed in an attempt to limit incidents, […]

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