Freedoms within MSHS have been lost and students are upset


Check-in/out sheets and written passes were implemented at MSHS Friday, October 1st. This process takes away valuable class time. (Jack Embery)

Manitou Springs High School students have experienced a decrease in trust from the administration and increased rules and supervision during the school day. Students and staff have been affected by this, and it’s time to hear everyone’s thoughts.

At the outset of the 2021-22 school year, a TikTok challenge called Devious Licks went around schools nationwide. This challenge began on September 1, 2021, and rapidly spread throughout US schools. The Devious Licks Challenge primarily encouraged students to steal, vandalize, and tear down school items and property.

According to the MSHS administration, some students participated in Devious Licks.  The vandalism occurred in bathrooms and locker rooms, clocks were stolen, and ketchup was squirted in a locker, to name a few. MSHS administration responded to destruction by asking teachers to implement a check-in and out of classrooms policy and give students passes to leave the classroom, to better track students’ location to further decrease Devious Licks’ behavior. These new protocols to protect school property have sent an outrage of frustration throughout the student body, leaving them feeling distrusted and leaving the teachers confused about where they stand. 

The frustration within the Manitou Springs student community is built on a lack of trust, causing many freedoms to be lost.  A minority of students who participate in the Devious Licks Challenge are ruining the freedoms of the majority. 

Students throughout MSHS shared their various opinions on the different new policies that were implemented: The new hallway pass policy, where you have to have a pass signed by a teacher to leave class; the signing in and out procedure, which is where students record their incoming and departing times of a specific classroom; and the new advisory hall pass, where students have to get two passes from the going/coming teacher to leave their advisory properly. 

MSHS students feel punished and feel their freedom has been taken away. Seniors, who could have the privilege of being the oldest in the school and therefore have more freedom than underclassmen, feel powerless, untrusted, and watched once these new protocols were put in place.

Students waste class time, teacher’s time, and other students’ time, writing passes and signing out every day. This all happened because students fell into a trend. Those who did not do anything wrong feel they should not be given the new strict rules that they have been provided with by the administration.

“School safety and welfare is the number one priority for the students at the high school; and to ensure this, rules need to be put in place,” Mr. Hull, principal, said. These policies do not seem like they will be going away anytime soon. Before COVID-19 began, there was a pass policy, but it hadn’t been enforced since 2018, thus taking students all by surprise. 

Students are not the only ones who feel this way; many teachers sense this is taking a toll on their teaching, focus, and class time spent doing something productive.

“What we are all seeing and experiencing is the interaction of our stress response behaviors versus that of other individuals. There are four stress response behaviors: fight, flight, freeze, and fawn,” Dr. Moen, English teacher and leader of MSHS’ Sources of Strength club, said. Regardless of whether the Devious Licks vandalism seems traumatic or not, the safety of the school being impaired may have caused a trauma response from administrators.

Administrators may have been experiencing the fight response when they decided to lock down students. “[The fight response is] the aggressive response to stress, which could translate to a rigid and strict set of expectations, which is similar to the mandates for passes and sign-out lists in response to the Devious Licks challenges being shared on Tik Tok,” Moen said.

There has been talking of students and staff doing well with the new rules among the administration. Hopefully, MSHS students will keep doing exactly what they are told and eventually get back to our community’s regular freedom and trust. Hopefully, students will think about participating in Devious Licks, as their actions affect everybody, from the administration to teachers and students.