“Devious Licks” TikTok trend

Stealing a soap dispenser is just another “devious lick” for students, but a serious problem for schools. // Photo courtesy of fox40jackson.com

Senior pranks and kids stealing stuff from school is not anything new, but how far is too far? Due to a recent trend on TikTok known as “Devious Licks”, also referred to as “Diabolical Licks’’ and “Dastardly Licks,” kids are being encouraged to steal anything from soap dispensers to fire alarms to even full teachers desks from their respective schools to participate in the viral trend.

High school bathrooms have been the worst victims of this trend, with some schools being forced to close their bathrooms entirely due to extreme vandalism.

Dealing with pandemic-related issues in the classroom is already a lot on teachers’ plates, but now schools are trying to figure out ways to address and ultimately stop this trend from getting out of hand, some being more extreme than others — various high schools across the nation are locking the bathrooms during class time, not allowing backpacks inside restrooms or requiring an adult escort to walk them to the bathroom.

On a more serious level, thirteen students are already facing criminal charges for their involvement in the TikTok trend.

But is arresting a student really worth it over a TikTok trend that will most likely go away in a week or two? A lot of kids who are participating in this trend probably are not aware of the consequences and financial repercussions of their actions and are just doing it in an attempt to temporarily go viral or simply because they are bored and think the videos are funny.

They are not thinking of the custodial staff who has to clean up after them or how the money that has to go towards replacing the stolen items could have gone somewhere more useful. Some schools may not even have the funds to replace the stolen items in the first place, which could potentially put pressure on the parents of the students to pay up.

Rather than immediately resorting to police discipline, schools could make efforts towards reforming and educating their students to help them understand why following viral trends like “Devious Licks” are bad.

Additionally, if it were not for the attention that this trend is getting on social media and national news sources, including the New York Times, NPR, the Washington Post and other big-name reputable news outlets, it would not even cross a lot of students’ minds to participate in vandalism and theft from their schools. The mass attention from the adult world is merely fueling the fire of the trend that probably would not have gotten as popular as it did without it.

Schools have been shown to be quick to jump to extremes when adults are made aware of trends in their student bodies. Back in many of our elementary school days when Silly Bandz were all the rave, schools often banned them completely for being “distractions in the classroom” despite them being just funny-shaped rubber bracelets.

But the thing about trends is that they are called “trends” for a reason in that they do not last forever — while this is easier said than done, the best thing schools can do is address students directly or ride out the “Devious Licks” trend because it will just fade away like most fads do.