CLARKSVILLE, Tennessee (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – TikTok challenges encouraging students to steal or destroy property caused more than $ 20,000 in damage to schools in Clarksville-Montgomery County.
Trends, which change every month according to challenge list circulating online, resulted in a urinal being pulled out, teachers’ personal belongings destroyed and thousands of dollars repaired.
Flood, theft and destruction
In recent weeks, more than 100 cases of vandalism and theft have been reported in the district’s 14 middle and high schools, according to Anthony Johnson, CMCSS director of communications.
Johnson said some of the worst problems are in bathrooms. Hundreds of soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and toilet paper holders were torn from the walls.
Bathrooms were flooded after toilet paper and paper towels were flushed down the toilet, Johnson said. Objects were stuck to the toilet seats, and food and other items were strewn on the toilets and stalls.
Plumbing fixtures were also torn from the walls. On one occasion, a urinal was ripped from the wall, causing more than $ 6,000 in cleaning and dehumidification costs, Johnson said.
Johnson said some teachers’ belongings were stolen and destroyed, with an incident at a school in which more than $ 200 of a teacher’s belongings were destroyed.
“I’m just going to echo what Sheriff (John) Fuson said in our communication to families last night -“ These thoughtless actions have serious consequences. “Dozens of students have suffered consequences and families are paying fines and restitution,” Johnson said.
The September challenge was to vandalize school toilets while the October challenge was to slap a teacher.
Access to the bathroom is limited
One response from schools is to schedule bathroom breaks.
Melissa Nortum, a relative of CMCSS, has two children in school. One goes to Rossview Middle and the other to West Creek High.
She told Clarksville Now that the response from both schools went beyond simple bathroom breaks.
“One of the bathrooms now only has two toilets available because someone tore them off the wall, so there are fewer bathrooms available for them,” Nortum said.
And because the soap dispensers were stolen, Nortum said there was no soap in some of the bathrooms. She bought travel-size hand soaps for her children so they could always wash their hands at school.
“At the end of the day, they can’t use the toilet when they come out of school because they locked the doors,” Nortum continued, adding that one of his children told him they had to wait for two. periods before using the toilet even if they had to go.
“They are not allowed to raise their hand and say, ‘Hey, can I use the toilet? “And get a pass and go,” Nortum said.
Johnson said several schools have had to respond by changing access to toilets.
“An example of a change in a school is, unless it is an emergency, a limited number of toilet / room passes are issued,” Johnson said.
“Passes are issued and tracked using a digital room pass application. The app can track the number of students absent from a particular hallway and how long they have been out of the classroom. It helps teachers know who, when and where to increase safety and security, ”he said.