PCS Bathroom Vandalism

Ronan Keith and Phillip Gonikberg

Social media has had a profound impact on the current generation of teenagers. Previously, the internet and social media motivated youth to do potentially dangerous things like the Cinnamon Challenge and the Tide pod Challenge. But not all of it has been bad. Some internet challenges spread by social media did benefit society, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. However, this specific case is an outlier.

In current times, there is no sign of these reckless trends slowing down, as children were recently motivated by the “Devious Lick” trend to steal various items found at school. This isn’t specific to PCS either: these licks are happening in schools all across the country, with many reports of stolen items. These items range from things such as soap dispensers to larger, more important ones such as road signs and projectors. With these “licks” being popularized on social media, it is very fortunate that PCS has only experienced stolen soap dispensers. While inconvenient, it could have been far more dangerous and destructive if, for example, a stop sign or a toilet were stolen. 

But that isn’t the end of the story. Bathroom vandalism, which has been an ongoing problem for many years, has resurged in parallel with the “devious lick” trend. Even after they were all replaced, one more soap dispenser was stolen during or before the 21st of September. In addition to stolen soap dispensers, at least one of the toilets in a PCS bathroom has been smeared with a red, liquid substance, resembling that of Kool-Aid or red food coloring. Although tame compared to what other schools have experienced, it still required a cleanup for future use. Local student Isaac, an avid TikToker, had this to say about about the crisis, “Man, you have no idea how many times I’ve just wanted to clean my damn hands after taking a piss from lunch only to be greeted by no soap dispensers and a toilet covered in Kool-Aid.” 

Additionally, a wooden board that was nailed to the wall in one of the bathrooms seems to have been vandalized. During or before the 6th of October, someone used a purple marker to write “LIX4L” and draw a picture of some strange monster. What’s more, someone also wrote “Nah f*ck this sh*t” with a pencil. More writing appeared on the board on the 28th. The time-honored tradition of taking out the clear plastic piece in the paper towel dispenser in the boys’ bathroom and pulling the paper towels through the hole has also reappeared. Phallic drawings were spotted in the boys’ bathrooms (one on a mirror, another on a wall some time later) and another in one of the gender neutral bathrooms. Pictures of Gi-hun, the main character from popular Korean TV show Squid Game, appeared around the school, with one being placed on a bathroom ceiling. It stayed there for some time before it was taken down on November 12th.

When asked about vandalism at PCS as a whole, Todd Harrison said, “The bathroom vandalism was incredibly frustrating because the perpetrator was impacting and affecting the school for their own entertainment; it seemed as if satisfying a social media challenge was more important than treating the school’s facilities and users with respect, and that was/is disheartening. To see and experience PCS students letting social media drive their behavior is a concern for me in the big picture. That is not the normal PCS behavior we are accustomed to.” He highlights that the actions of reckless students have consequences beyond admonishment, and that it causes frustration and needless effort to resolve the issue. 

Dan Hogan has been instrumental in restoring the bathrooms after the vandalism and said of the situation, “It’s very wrong and it’s caused a lot of extra work for myself and Todd and supplies. And…kids don’t appreciate seeing it on the walls, right? I’m not too thrilled about it, so we just hope that it can stop. And if enough kids keep their ears open, maybe we can put an end to it.” 

It is almost frightening to know that all this extra labor and effort was caused by a social media trend. In all, social media is very influential over the current generation of teenagers and should not be underestimated. Parents should be conscious of their teenagers’ involvement with social media and take steps to ensure that their children understand the consequences of participating in bathroom vandalism.