Editorial: Respect our Restrooms

Teenagers should be old enough to distinguish civilized behavior from its opposite, but recent incidents in the lavatories suggest some students at our school cannot.  

In the past few weeks, vandalism in the restrooms has gone far beyond Sharpie drawings in the stalls. Students are now tearing soap, paper towel and toilet paper dispensers off walls. Even more barbarically, some have intentionally clogged toilets, sprayed red food dye on toilets and placed feces in a sink.   

Cambridge is better than this. 

Assistant Principal Darius Maize said Thursday that the school’s leaders are unsure whether this raucous conduct is connected to the viral TikTok trend “Devious Lick,” which challenges students to steal from or trash school property — but they aren’t ruling out the possibility.  

Whatever the catalyst for the defacement of the restrooms, this behavior is outrageous.  

How can people fulfill their basic needs when toilet paper, soap and paper towels are unavailable? It can be hard enough already between classes or when stalls are limited due to malfunctioning locks. 

In addition to insulting their peers, the vandals insult the custodians, who labor all day to ensure the cleanliness of the entire building for everyone’s well-being just to be thanked with excrement in the sink and other childish messes. 

Civility and consideration are at the heart of this issue, but so is the fact that this juvenile behavior is compromising people’s wellness. 

Handwashing, specifically, not only is important after using the restroom given the germs exchanged in there, but also to eliminate germs collected outside from computers and desks, for example. According to the CDC, “washing hands prevents illnesses and [the] spread of infections to others.” 

Handwashing to protect one’s health cannot be achieved if students are robbing each other of the necessary materials. 

Especially in the midst of a global pandemic, this sense of urgency and commitment to cleanliness and hygiene should be honored. 

The majority of the student population is not involved in these crimes; it is the small percentage who unfortunately cause difficulty and inconvenience for all. They post pictures and videos of their destruction online because they find it hysterical, though it is only a reflection of themselves. 

As the saying goes, if you see something, say something. Students have the power to halt the immaturity of the wrongdoers by reporting any damage or foolish conduct to administrators. 

Additionally, FCS Tip Line is an online resource to anonymously report any incidents of vandalism, whether witnessed in-person or on social media. 

Advocate for the restrooms. Though the offenders treat them as their own, they belong to everyone. 

To the perpetrators: actions have consequences. If thinking about the common good seems impossible, consider how your conduct is an image of your character and reputation.