“Devious Licks” TikTok Trend Leads to Vandalization in Schools Across the Nation.

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Picture of a TikTok in which a user took a security camera. The video has the caption 'This lick will never be topped.'

Diamond Garcia-Alvarez, Editor in Chief 2021-2022

In early September, a trend emerged on TikTok where high school and college students take property from their schools and post the video on the internet. Items such as signs, security cameras, projectors, and even drinking fountains have been stolen. The trend began on September 6th when someone on TikTok posted a video with a soap dispenser in their backpack along with the text “Only a month into school and got this absolute devious lick.” As if celebrating school’s return with the steal. The video got students excited. Within days videos were going viral left and right, showing off their “Devious licks.” An entire fire alarm was ripped from the wall. It is hard to determine which videos are just being uploaded for fun without malicious intentions, or whether they’re additions of stolen items. This makes the trend even more questionable. The Devious Licks challenge is a successful but diabolical trend that has made its way around the internet. This begs the question though. How far can this be taken until someone gets into serious trouble?

 

 

 

This has even gotten to the point where high school officials have threatened to arrest students who participate in the “Devious Licks” challenge. “For those that are participating, please know that when we do catch you, we will discipline you to the fullest extent and you will be arrested, and you will be responsible for any of the monetary damages that have been done. Again, this needs to stop,” an administrator said in a TikTok that a student recorded. Some school has even removed the soap dispensers while COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Nevertheless, students will have to wash their hands with hand sanitizer because of this. Within Idaho Falls School District 91, there have been some “Licks”. Students at Taylorview Middle School have taken some items.

 

 

 

I have done some research on this trend and asked for some opinions from students, staff, and administrators at Skyline. Long-time veteran Paula Ashby said that she wasn’t even aware of the TikTok trend. “TikTok challenges may seem like fun and harmless to follow, but this challenge isn’t just taking school property for a laugh. This is stealing and there are consequences for actions.” Said Hannah Saxton. When asking for comments from administrators, principal Joshua Newell responded with this. “When things like this happen, it makes our job very difficult.  Our custodians, teachers, paras, and all other adults on-campus work very hard to keep our building clean and orderly.  We try to create an environment that is easy for students to learn in.  It is extremely disappointing and frustrating when people damage school property because someone has to fix it and the money to fix those things comes from our taxpayers.  We have a great facility, please help us keep it that way.  Thank you” In addition, bathrooms excluding the ones located in the Media Center and gym were closed on the 16th until further repairs. Newell also made an announcement the same day stating if you know of anyone participating in this challenge, inform administration immediately. As rewards are being offered. Newell reiterated that his challenge needs to stop. I reached out to Officer Dax Siddoway, Skyline’s Student Resource Officer for some comments. To prevent further vandalism, Siddoway said that increased bathroom patrols are performed during the day. School administrators are monitoring the cameras almost constantly. Siddoway added.

 

 

 

Much to the relief of high school administrators, TikTok now prohibits Devious Licks on their platform. The hashtag is no longer visible when searching for it. “We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities. We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior.” A TikTok spokesperson said to Newsweek. Additionally, TikTok publicly tweeted their stance on the trend, writing: “We expect our community to create responsibly – online and IRL. We’re removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools & teachers.”

 

 

 

As a result of this, TikToks showing Devious Licks are no longer visible anymore. It seems as if the company stood by their word and have either removed videos or redirected searches. It appears a new trend has now emerged on the platform. The “Angelic Yields” Challenge is where misguided students are returning the items they have taken. The challenge has also evolved into people leaving items, useful or not, in restrooms. The hashtag #AngelicYield currently has over 29.6 million views on TikTok. One user who previously stole a projector returned it to its rightful owner. Items that have not been stolen are also showing up in school bathrooms. Things such as quality toilet paper, feminine products, hand soap, and even air fresheners have been bought by users.