Someone Toilet-Papered a Tree… Only at Blake


Cydney Socias

The aftermath of the toilet papered tree.

On January 18th, last Friday, Blake students and teachers alike united with one common goal: to beautify Blake. However, there was one incident that may have, or at least attempt to foil this plan. Someone TP’d one of Blake’s many conifers that line the perimeters of the courtyard. The toilet-papered tree was the foremost tree. It stands front center of the green space across the cafeteria- making it the first tree visible to anyone who approaches. Some would say that this tree is the figurehead tree of Blake High School. It stands just a bit taller than the rest, a bit greener than the others. Perhaps this lends an eye to the perpetrators motive: to make a bold, almost anarchical statement against administration. Or maybe it was just the easiest tree to prank. After all, this tree is the closest to the 3rd floor breezeway. The perpetrator would not need much toilet paper throwing skill to reach this tree, factors like strength of culprit or previous TP experience can’t be deduced.

One question still begs to be asked: where did they get the toilet paper from? Sure, the prankster could have just brought their own toilet paper from home, but that would make the act much more premeditated than a simple prank. Most likely, the perpetrator used toilet paper from the school bathroom. So, whichever bathroom at this school is missing toilet paper could at least reveal something about the gender which the perpetrator identifies as. However, the bathrooms at Blake often lack toilet paper so any data collected from this would be inconclusive. The origin story of that roll of toilet paper may always remain a mystery, making the vandalism all the more masterful.

Another aspect of the case that is fascinating is the motive. It’s no coincidence that the tree literally gets vandalized on the day of The Blake Beautification. It’s the one day where everyone (or at least participating students and teachers) comes together to restore beauty across our campus. Why would anyone vandalize school property on a day with such a noble cause? The answer is simple. The offender wanted to make a bold point. Perhaps they were commenting on the irony of “beautifying” Blake, considering our school is notorious for its lack of cleanliness. Or maybe they wanted to make more of a statement criticizing the school’s motives: forcing students to clean up the school one day, but disregarding the state of the school’s hygiene the next. Perhaps the motives of the offender will never be revealed.

Although, of course, toilet papering a tree on school grounds is not allowed- is it possible that an action like this to be justified? At what point does personal expression become vandalism? At the end of the day, administration and students may hold different opinions. Should you, too, vandalize a tree? Probably not. But if it’s for a meaningful cause? That’s where the line blurs. According to Mr. Young, former Blake Assistant Principle, something like this, even justified in the student’s mind, would be punished as vandalism with 2-3 days of ISS or out of school suspension. However, Young adds “If [a political statement] was discussed [with administration]… either we would agree to it or give them some other means to express themselves”.

The true identity of the Blake Beautification Toilet Paperer may never be known. Blake continues on, as any high school would. Although the toilet papering is a bit of a novelty, most members of Blake remain unfazed by the incident. Life goes on, just as the toilet paper fell out of the tree nearly an hour after it was thrown.