Mahar reopens bathrooms following problems from destructive TikTok trend

  • Students leave Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange. All student bathrooms at the school are back open following the closure of most of them as a result of a destructive social media trend. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 11/18/2021 4:42:01 PM

ORANGE — All student bathrooms at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School are back open following the closure of most of them as a result of a destructive social media trend.

Principal Scott Hemlin said all student restrooms — with the exception of a pair in the gymnasium lobby and a gender-neutral one that is centrally located in the building — were closed starting Nov. 10 so administrators could devise a way to address the issue. The trend, known as “devious licks,” among other names, went viral this year on the video-centric social networking service TikTok and consists of students posting a video of themselves stealing, vandalizing or showing off an item they stole from their school, usually from a bathroom.

All bathrooms were reopened starting Nov. 16.

“We had some ideas about how to shift the culture of the school and access the facilities appropriately,” Hemlin said.

The principal said staffers worked to make the bathrooms more comfortable and welcoming in hopes that students will feel more respectful toward the space. He said students have been very responsive to this. He also mentioned a teacher researched a TikTok counter-trend called “angelic yields,” in which users post videos of them purchasing or donating items (such as rolls of toilet paper and bottles of hand soap) to replace whatever has been stolen during a “devious lick,” or leaving money for someone to find.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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