A few weeks ago, many of Morro Bay High School’s restrooms were locked due to vandalism in the bathrooms, and the doors remained closed until staff were able to replace stolen items and fix broken appliances. The bathroom vandalism is not indigenous to MBHS. It can instead be traced back to popular social media app TikTok. This trend, called “devious licks,” has plagued US middle and high schools over the past few weeks. To do a “devious lick” is to sneakily steal something from your school, usually from the bathroom. American teens have done everything from stealing packets of face masks, to snatching projectors, to tearing sinks and paper towel dispensers off walls. “I would love to ask, why? Why are you stealing used toilet seats?” That’s what MBHS freshman Sofia Steen had to say on the matter. As of September 23rd, all the bathrooms have been officially reopened, but the story of the bathrooms remains untold. So the Spyglass sat down with Mr. Allstot, vice principal of Morro Bay High, to get some answers.
“I am part of a team that makes sure you guys have safe, clean restrooms to use.” Mr. Allstot has been working ever since the vandalism incidents to monitor the bathrooms and ensure they are clean and safe. According to Allstot, the monetary damage the “devious lick” trend caused was massive. “The physical damage [was] in the thousands of dollars, and the time… that it took to repair everything [was also] in the thousands of dollars.” When you listen to his summary of the stolen items, it isn’t hard to see why. Graffiti. Bathroom doors being ripped off. Urinal theft. The forced removal of tile. The clogging of toilets with paper towels. The removal of paper towel dispensers. Wet paper towels. Urine-covered toilet paper all over the bathrooms. Because of this, Allstot says, “They were not clean nor safe enough for our students to use.” In addition to this, some damage was so extensive plumbers were needed to come in to make repairs, meaning it took a while to get them open. As for the students who did these things, the Spyglass will not print names but Allstot promises that the school was “able to find out some of the students involved, and assigned the appropriate consequences to those students.”
Moving forward, the changes to the MBHS bathroom rules are minimal. Mr. Allstot is adamant that “we still want to be able to trust students to use the restroom, [and] students who do not use the restrooms correctly will [have their] privileges modified.” However, MBHS staff are taking plenty of preventative measures to ensure the vandalism does not happen again. For one thing, students “are realizing the importance of having an open bathroom,” as they’ve had to live with the lack of bathrooms (and their peers’ backlash) for several weeks now. Students are also asked to report any harm done to the bathrooms to an adult. The bathrooms will be closed directly before and after school. And the most preventative measure of all – staff will be “regularly regulating the restrooms.” Allstot says that video cameras are placed directly outside restrooms so the school will know who went in and out of the bathroom at certain times in the event another round of vandalism occurs.
Mr. Allstot hopes that all students will use the campus properly from now on. “We all want to go into the bathroom and not have to worry about there being no toilet paper, or urine on toilet paper, or a bathroom without stall doors.” He urges students to “treat everything with respect,” letting an adult know if you see anything otherwise. Hopefully, his advice will be heeded, and MBHS bathrooms will be bothered no more.