Middle school students in North Carolina have recently faced a change in their school environment. Southern Alamance Middle School, part of the Alamance-Burlington School System, has decided to remove mirrors from its bathrooms. This decision was reported by WFMY News and was made in an effort to lessen distractions for students.
The school noticed an unusual pattern: students were frequently visiting the bathrooms, often seven or eight times a day, and many of these visits occurred during class time.
According to Les Atkins, the public relations officer for the school system, the reason behind these frequent visits was that students were using the bathroom time to create TikTok videos.
"Students were going to the bathroom for long periods of time and making TikTok videos," Atkins shared with the media.
Since the removal of the mirrors, the school has observed positive changes.
Atkins reported to the Daily Mail that there has been a significant reduction in the number of bathroom visits by students.
The school noticed fewer trips to the bathroom and shorter stays.
Atkins emphasized the importance of accountability in seeing this positive change.
"[The school saw] not as many visits to the bathroom, and [students] not staying as long. And students are held accountable. When there's accountability, you see a great difference," he said.
This new approach by the school has garnered various reactions on social media.
Many, including parents, have expressed their support for the school's decision.
Comments on X (formerly Twitter) show that some people agree with the measures, citing TikTok's addictive nature.
"That’s a good way forward…TikTok is addictive," commented one user, while another commended the school: "Good for them!"
However, not everyone agrees that removing mirrors is the right solution.
Some are calling for alternative strategies that focus more on the root causes of the issue.
For instance, one person pointed out that the problem might be deeper: "Surely this will not solve the problem of addiction, you need to think carefully and find the cause of the problem and not fight the effect."
Others suggested banning smartphones in schools as a more effective measure.
"Or, work with me here...BAN SMARTPHONES. Force kids to keep their phones in their lockers or cubbies until the end of the day," a user suggested.
A third questioned: "Why are students allowed to have phones in school? It would make more sense to remove the phones."
A fourth also shared a similar sentiment: "The students will still have the same recording devices in their possession, right? At least they can use those same devices to check their hair and makeup after they're done recording their mirror-free videos."
In addition to the mirror removal, the school district has introduced a digital hall pass system called Smart Pass.
This system, which is part of the school's existing software, helps monitor student movement without adding extra costs to the district.
This move is seen as a part of the school's broader effort to create a more conducive learning environment.
The school district, as quoted in The New York Post, expressed its commitment to minimizing distractions to enhance the focus on learning.
"We strive to limit distractions so students can focus on learning. Though this is an adjustment, we believe these changes will foster a better learning environment by minimizing disruptions," stated the school district.
Discussing the digital hall pass, Atkins highlighted the importance of educating students about responsible cellphone use.
"We’re trying to educate students: we all have cell phones now. We have to learn to use them. We have to learn when to put them down," he explained.