Two words that don’t belong together in any context -- “bathroom” and “challenge” -- have combined to a staggeringly destructive effect in schools across southeastern Minnesota.
As Jordan Shearer reported, a viral trend on the popular social media platform TikTok involves students sharing videos of themselves tearing soap dispensers off walls, taking seats off toilets and purposely plugging the toilets to make them overflow. This trend has been named by its makers as the “Bathroom Challenge.”
How popular has it been? Every secondary school in Rochester had to shut down at least one of its bathrooms for repair during the first three weeks of the school year. Area schools, too, have seen an uptick in vandalism traceable to this trend.
“Our students by and large wouldn't do these types of things," Stewartville High School Principal Patrick Breen said. "They are definitely seduced by the power of a 'like.'”
As teen trends go, this one is just plumb dumb. Let’s give restrooms a break, kids. Thumbs down.
Applause followed the Rochester School Board’s announcement that the new middle school under construction in far northwest Rochester will be called Dakota.
The name is a nod to the Dakota, or Lakota, tribes that lived in this part of the U.S. prior to white settlement. A student nominated the name, writing, "I believe our new middle school should be named this to represent the first settlers of our area."
The last school to be named, Overland Elementary, was named for a nearby street. Some board members and others in the public expressed disappointment that the name wasn’t evocative of diversity, history or a local person. That’s answered with Dakota. It means “friendly people.” Thumbs up.
A last chance
A city agreement with the owners of a local Mexican restaurant was described as “a step in the right direction.”
Los Jarritos Cafe, in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center, has been the destination for police calls -- including two involving gunfire -- and various alleged alcohol infractions. The owners seem willing and able to turn things around, though, so this was the agreement: The restaurant will be on probation for six months. Any mistakes will cost it its liquor license. Staff will have to add security after 10 p.m., when problems have taken place, and staff members who serve alcohol will have to attend training put on by the Rochester Police Department.
For the restaurant, the compromise is less severe than the punishment it would have faced under the first package put forward by the city. For the city, the conditions set the stage for final action if Los Jarritos errs again. It’s a last chance -- with teeth. That’s a good compromise, and it gets our thumbs up.