Administrators at some schools were pushed to limit restroom use during school hours after the Bay Area has experienced the nationwide trending TikTok challenge which prompts students to document themselves while they vandalize school restrooms.
In the East Bay, the districts of Pleasanton and San Ramon Valley have already filed reports on vandalism incidents in recent weeks. Students in these districts have been tearing off walls and vandalizing soap dispensers.
Because of this, some restrooms in schools were already shut as parents and students alike were warned of disciplinary action if the destruction continues.
“We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” stressed Patrick Gannon, Pleasanton Unified School District spokesperson.
Gannon said three middle schools and a couple of high schools within the district were impacted by the challenge. There were a handful of students who admitted they were part of the viral TikTok while others were identified through the help of the posts in social media.
“Students are disciplined based on severity of the damage to property, which can also involve law enforcement as these can be considered criminal offenses,” Gannon said.
While the total damage cost has not yet been determined, he said the custodians are bearing the burden of more work because of the destruction.
“We hope that this will convey the consequences that this destructive behavior has on our ability to provide a safe and positive learning environment for students,” he said. “We encourage our school community to say something if they see something while at school or on social media.”
A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement that the video-sharing app does not “allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities.” In an effort to stop this, it said it has been taking down videos and readdressing hashtag search results to the guidelines of the company.
Last week in Contra Costa, about five educational institutions in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District have come forward to report destruction – like clogged toilets and ripped walls – because of the challenge.
NBC Bay Area has gathered that the students who took part in the challenge have already been identified and will be subjected to disciplinary actions. In addition, their parents were informed by the administrators through a letter for them to also remind their kids to stop the wrongdoings, San Francisco Chronicle reported.
USA Today reported that the two districts in East Bay did not specify if criminal penalties will be applied to the students.