TikTok's 'Devious Licks' Trend Leaving Nationwide Damage in Schools A TikTok hosted challenge is vandalizing U.S. schools. (Dreamstime)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 17 September 2021 11:47 AM
A TikTok trend running rampant among students involves stealing from schools, leaving behind damage, and posting boastful videos online.
The "devious licks" challenge has encouraged students to steal everything from soap dispensers to bathroom stall doors to shelves of COVID-19 tests to entire toilets, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.
Boone County, Kentucky, schools reported the trend has resulted in arrests and charges of at least "a couple" of middle school students, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
"This behavior will not be tolerated and will be dealt with accordingly," Boone County Schools officials wrote in a letter to parents. "Destruction of school property will result in school discipline being applied to the fullest extent, including paying restitution for property that has been damaged or destroyed and possibly being criminally charged by our local police or sheriff's department."
School administrators across the country have taken to social media to warn of the trend.
"We have experienced vandalism in our boys' bathrooms that very closely follows this terrible challenge," Swartz Creek (Michigan) Middle School principal Michele Corbat wrote on Facebook, the Free Press said.
"Soap dispensers have been removed from walls, soap has been spread on walls, and urinals and sinks are being damaged. We are actively investigating these incidents and any students involved will face disciplinary action."
CBS Minnesota reported Thursday that Shakopee West Middle School officials said thefts have increased significantly in recent days, leaving bathrooms, in particular, damaged.
"We have tried several measures to prevent the vandalism and theft, but have been unable to get it to stop," Shakopee principal Lori Link wrote. "In fact, it is escalating."
The Shakopee school said it temporarily was locking student bathrooms during class time, though staff bathrooms would remain open. Student bathrooms will open briefly before and after school, during passing time, and lunch, the school added.
TikTok announced Wednesday it was banning "devious licks" videos from the platform, saying they violate the app's community guidelines.
Students in middle schools and high schools nationwide have been seen stealing school furnishings — from clocks to computers — and vandalizing rooms by smearing walls with soap in videos posted in recent weeks.
Teachers and school employees took to social media to plead for an end to "devious licks."
Social studies teacher Ms. Othman tweeted:
"Talk to your kids. This year is hard enough as it is. This is also VANDALISM. #TikTokChallenge #DeviousLicks #FFS."
Music teacher Ami Garvin tweeted Thursday:
"Like school staff don't have enough on their hands keeping kids safe during a pandemic. #DEVIOUSLICK #deviouslicks."
A California custodian tweeted:
"@tiktok_us Please Please Please take down the damn #deviouslicks videos "Goddamn students are Wreaking Havoc across our countries School Systems "Signed, a Lead Custodian at a High School in SoCal"
Student Ronald Martinez tweeted:
"So I just found out that someone destroyed the toilets with a hammer from the school in one of the restrooms, STOP IT NOW! It's a crime and it's not funny. Our restrooms will be closed in the school for a few weeks because of this. #deviouslicks #wxtwitter."