Students use masks to damage school property

Protective gear has created an unintended behavioral issue.

Since the return to campus, all students and staff wear masks while indoors.  The masks help minimize the spread of COVID-19 at MacArthur.  Unfortunately, there has been an unintended consequence of the masks.  Students have been ripping off the earloops of masks and have been damaging school property, specifically chairs.                                    

Students have damaged things with mask ear loops.  The most common damage is on objects such as pens, pencils, and chairs.  They are able to do this by ripping a mask string off, and continuously slicing the object with the string until the friction causes damage.  Small objects can actually be sliced in half while larger objects, like chairs, are notched with grooves.

Similar to the earlier “devious licks” trend, the mask damage might have been influenced by TikTok and other social media.  School administration kept teachers aware of the issue as soon as it started appearing on campus.

“I think it’s sad because we’re only embarrassing ourselves.  It’s a reflection of the student’s family, and our community,” said Principal Mr. Ray Gonzales.

As far as class damage goes, there have been reports that some rooms such as room 21 have suffered from mask damage.  This can mean chairs, pencils, pens, tables, etc, all being sawed in with a mask string. 

“I think that students should be able to feel more pride in their classroom because it’s meant to represent their safe place away from home, and they can ruin it for other students,” said science teacher Mr. Cesar Duran when asked about mask damage. 

Ever since COVID-19 schools forced campuses to shut down, there have been challenges in reacclimating to expectations on campus.  The new mask policy requires students to wear masks indoors and is encouraged outdoors unless students are drinking or eating food.  The policy, though, seems to have brought unexpected challenges.

As a consequence of many students damaging property, there are some new punishments.  To give an instance, some of the possible punishments that you would get if you were to do mask damage and get caught would be a suspension, detention, a possible phone call home, and perhaps even paying for whatever you damaged.