Officials investigating after vandalism at Lake Country washrooms

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The District of Lake Country said soap dispensers were burned, doors were wrenched off of their hinges and garbage and feces were smeared around Swalwell Park’s washrooms in mid-October.

District officials estimate the damage costs approximately $2,000.

It’s also prompted the early closure of the washrooms weeks ahead of their seasonal schedule.

The washrooms are across from H.S. Grenda Middle School.

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Several witnesses told Global News that they believed students had taken part in causing some of the damage.

There is speculation that they might have been motivated by the recent TikTok trend known as ‘devious licks’, although the District of Lake Country is unable to confirm whether or not that is the case.

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The disturbing trend challenges students to vandalize bathrooms for views and likes.

“It’s a way to get recognition from one’s peers, and I think that’s something that young people are very often interested in,” said Michael Zajko, an internet policy expert at UBC Okanagan.

Though the Central Okanagan School District reported an uptick in vandalism at the beginning of the school year, this latest incident hasn’t been definitively connected with the disturbing trend.

“This is a real phenomenon that has been documented in in parts of the United States and then also in Canada. It’s certainly one possible explanation here,” Zajko said.

“But I think that it’s a little rash, to jump to conclusions and blame TikTok for this particular act of vandalism.”

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For parents who are concerned about their children’s activity on TikTok, he said to try to maintain an open and trusting relationship with kids so they feel comfortable sharing.

RCMP said that several local youth have been reported as suspects, but officers have not yet identified all parties involved.

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Police said that the case could potentially be referred to restorative justice if certain conditions are met, including the youth taking responsibility for their actions.

The District of Lake Country is planning to reopen the washrooms in the spring.


© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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