School’s Surprising Decision: No Bathroom Mirrors

( – The Southern Alamance Middle School in North Carolina has removed the mirrors in the student restrooms. It may seem a bit bizarre, but the Alamance-Burlington School System had a good reason. According to district spokesperson Les Atkins, students were disappearing into the restrooms up to 9 times a day, often for long periods of time, in order to film TikTok videos. The strange thing about it is that it has already worked.

With the mirrors gone the students are now back to restroom visits of about 3 or 4 times a day and for considerably less time. While there is a great deal of debate around cellphones in schools, this solution bypasses the issue by removing the mirrors, not the phones. School administrators are aware that cell phones are a distraction for students, but parents and students are often uncomfortable with the idea of teachers confiscating them. There have been many cases where students have needed their phones in emergency situations.

The school has also implemented digital hall pass system referred to as a Smart Pass. This system allows students to check in and out of class and makes it easier for the school to track where all the students are at any given time. Administrators say that this helps keep the students safe as well as enhancing accountability. Atkins remarked that these changes are part of educating students in “digital citizenship”. He emphasized that in a world where everyone has cell phones it is vital to know when to put them down.

As it becomes clear that TikTok can be harmful to young people, more people are looking for ways to mitigate that damage. In this case a middle school removed mirrors to discourage students from making TikTok videos during class time. Montana attempted to ban TikTok entirely, however was prevented from moving forward with that plan by an injunction by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy who believes the ban would infringe on the constitutional rights of citizens. Some tech experts have expressed dismay at the signs of addiction in TikTok users. While an unorthodox solution, it seems like the removal of mirrors has been somewhat effective in pushing TikTok out of at least one school.

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