Northfield, News

Vandalism to New Trier High School bathrooms inspired by TikTok trend

A social media challenge has reportedly inspired a series of acts of vandalism in New Trier High School bathrooms, according to a letter sent to parents by the school’s principals. 

The letter — which is signed by Principals Paul Waechtler (Northfield campus) and Denise Dubravec (Winnetka campus) — states that over the past couple of weeks the bathrooms “primarily at our Northfield campus … have been subject to acts of destruction.” 

Examples of the vandalism include stolen fixtures, broken soap dispensers and spilled garbage cans, the letter says.

“We are disappointed that students would behave this way at New Trier, but are confident with the help of families and support of students who are not involved that we will be able to put a stop to it,” said Niki Dizon, the district’s director of communications.

The district told parents the vandalism is associated with a “challenge” on the social-media app TikTok, in which users post media showing off their “licks,” or stolen and broken items. 

The #deviouslick challenge is a nationwide trend that has struck schools throughout the country and even led to arrests. TikTok has tried to fend off the activity by blocking certain content.

TikTok released this statement on Twitter: “We expect our community to create responsibly – online and IRL. We’re removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools & teachers.”

Dizon said the district is conducting an internal investigation into any damage. It has not involved the police department, but is “leaving that option open.”

“We also are letting students know that we will pursue strong disciplinary action against those who commit these acts and will report them to the police,” the letter reads.

The incidents have reportedly caused New Trier officials to close some of the bathrooms because of a lack of available staff to regularly monitor all of the facilities.

Dizon said students who need to use bathrooms will be able to, but the most-convenient bathroom may not be available. 

Officials also reminded New Trier students to display their school IDs “at all times” while they are on school grounds.

According to the letter, district officials have discussed the incidents with Northfield campus students and plan to address Winnetka campus students some time next week. 

The school’s principals asked for district parents to help them in squelching the destructive activity.

“Encourage students to report these acts and videos to a trusted adult,” the letter says. “Our anonymous tip page, TrevTips, also is a way for students to report acts of vandalism, theft, or other concerns.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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