Schools Removed Mirrors From Bathrooms To Curb TikTok Use — Did It Work?

What do you think about the schools' decision?

By: Amanda Mushro

Related To:

USA, New York


USA, New York

Photo by: Cavan Images

Cavan Images

By now, you’ve probably heard all about the TikTok ban bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Although the video-sharing app’s future still hangs in the balance, TikTok is still very much a part of people’s lives. If you have an older kid or teenager, then you’ve definitely witnessed them making their own videos for the app. From dances and lip synching to crazy trends that kids can’t stop talking about, seeing teens and tweens recording TikToks in public seems like the norm. But what happens when they are at school?

Teachers at one North Carolina middle school noticed that some students were asking to go to the bathroom multiple times a day and the length of time they were out of class was increasing. It didn’t take teachers and school administrators very long to realize that the kids were using these frequent bathroom breaks to record TikToks. Their solution: remove bathroom mirrors.

"Since removing the mirrors, we have seen a drastic decrease in bathroom visits from students asking to be excused just to make videos," Les Atkins, a spokesperson for Alamance-Burlington schools, tells CBS News. "We strive to limit distractions so students can focus on learning."

Why take out mirrors? The mirrors are often used in the videos for transitions and different edits or kids record the mirror reflection instead of their phone reflection. Some students were going to the bathroom as many as nine times a day, largely to make the videos, according to the school.

The school decided to take out mirrors instead of taking away students’ phones, citing that parents want kids to have access to their cellphones in case of an emergency. Also, teachers say that they sometimes include phones as part of in class assignments. Enforcing a no-phone policy can be a nightmare for schools. So, this school got creative.

The school also implemented a new "digital hall pass system" that helps track the whereabouts of students throughout the day. Instead of the traditional hall pass, this system allows teachers and administrators more information on which students are leaving class.

"The pass allows students to check in and out when leaving class, so we know where students are at all times for safety and accountability," Atkins said.

As schools across the country grapple with similar issues, some have tried banning phones altogether, but schools in Florida have implemented laws banning all access to TikTok on devices that use the school internet.

Reports of issues arising because of the popular social media app began to make headlines in 2021. This is when school administrators across the country said that the TikTok challenges were endangering both students and staff, and there was an increase in damage to school property. In some cases, schools had to resort to canceling classes and increasing security.

Nearly 95% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 report using social media, with more than a third of them saying they use the platforms "almost constantly," according to a U.S. Surgeon General advisory released last year. For schools trying to redefine school policies — are taking out mirrors a good solution? Sounds like only time and TikTok views for students will tell.


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