Vandalism creates unnecessary work for custodians



School restrooms start to close on the first and second floor due to vandalism-related issues starting in November of 2021.

Vandalism causes headaches for school administrators and students at Ocean Lakes High School this year because of damage-related issues.

“The seats in the bathroom are green-stained, and sometimes there is toilet paper clogging the toilet, with some stalls being unusable. It is very discomforting and annoying when some bathroom stalls are closed due to the vandalism,” said freshman Kai England. 

Bathrooms are littered with garbage for the custodians to clean. Several restrooms have closed due to unsanitary conditions. 

“It’s hard. If the students mess up the bathroom, it’s hard work to remove and clean up the messes,” said custodian Chi Ha, who is a beloved staff member.

And vandalism costs hundreds of dollars to repair. 

Some believe the vandalism of school restrooms became popular after a trend began on a social media platform named, “Tiktok.” People on the platform created a monthly challenge; for the month of October, it instructed students to litter, vandalize, and destroy their school bathrooms as a prank. Although the challenge was in the past, it remains an issue.

Most teens are not aware of the consequences that follow with vandalism.

“There is a range, depending on the damage of the vandalism. That range can lead up to possible expulsion and possibilities of restitution to the child or the child’s parents.” said Principal Dr. Claire LeBlanc.

Vandalism is a crime in the state of Virginia, which can lead to jail time.

According to the Virginia Destruction of Property and Vandalism Laws, Penalties, and Defenses, property damage under $1,000 is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, while damage over $1,000 is a Class 6 felony.

“On the criminal level, there can be a destruction of property charge, which carries various levels of misdemeanor charges depending on how much the damage costs to replace. Most charges can carry up to a year in jail if you’re over 18; if you’re under 18, there are various aspects of the juvenile justice system, such as a time spent in a detention facility,” said Officer Cameron Kolmer.

Vandalism not only harms the school, but it puts students at high risk for serious consequences. With cameras set up at every angle of the school, it is likely that  administrators can track suspects.

“We are very good at tracking who goes to the restroom, which can help us find out who is committing the act,” said LeBlanc.