Devious Licks Divide School
The entrance to the third-floor men’s bathroom stood out in an otherwise unremarkable hall, its entrance barred by a mesh of yellow caution tape, upside-down trash cans, and paper signs as a result of a recent incident of vandalism. According to associate principal Liz Murray, who has handled the situation for the administration, a group of students destroyed the movement sensor that regulates the lights and allows the school to save energy, necessitating the closure of the bathroom until the school purchased and installed a replacement.
Since this first incident in September, students ripped soap dispensers off the walls of the men’s bathrooms in the social studies wing and the athletic hallway, and removed clocks from various classrooms.
Though the school has suffered other isolated incidents of vandalism in the past, this spree differs significantly: the school attributes it to a TikTok trend. The trend, known as “Devious Licks” has resulted in teens around the nation stealing objects from school, typically small ones, such as soap dispensers and paper towel holders, and posting themselves showing off their proverbial “loot” to the song “SKI SKI BASEDGOD,” by Lil B.
In recent months, the trend has swept the nation; although TikTok has attempted to quash it by banning related hashtags, the trend’s audio has reportedly been featured in more than 95,000 videos. While some videos appear to be satirical, an alarming number depict more serious theft or destruction of school property.
In response to this string of incidents, the school has launched an investigation and plans to make the perpetrators pay for the replacement of the damaged items in addition to being scheduled up. The school projects that the replacement of the soap dispensers will cost upwards of $35, while the light movement sensor will cost a considerably heftier $135. Though some of the offending students remain unknown, the school has determined the identities of others through witness accounts and shared videos of the incidents.
Though the vandalism appears to have ceased and the bathrooms have all reopened, this case has demonstrated the great impact that social media has on the school community. For better or worse, social media apps like TikTok encourage users to think and act in certain ways. This harmful trend has illustrated the rising need for our society to grapple with social media’s effects on our non-virtual lives as it maintains its widespread popularity.