MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Parents listen up. There’s a new, destructive TikTok craze that has teens stealing and damaging property at school.
The “Devious Licks” viral challenge has some school districts reporting thousands of dollars in damage while issuing warnings to students and parents. Now TikTok is under fire over the challenge.
The latest TikTok trend has students stealing things like soap dispensers, fire extinguishers, and clogging toilets in their school and posting proof about it on social media.
“You’ve got students who would never do anything like steal something, but they see it on social media, and they think it’s funny and want to be a part of it and don’t look at the repercussions,” said Kevin Dawson, a Tennessee school principal.
The Devious Licks challenge has become such a problem, TikTok has been quick to shut down the trend, with the company removing many of the videos from its platform
Still, there could be repercussions for students. For example, a sheriff in Florida says students could possibly face criminal charges for vandalism and destruction of school property.
“This is not a childish mistake,” said Polk County, Florida Sheriff Grady Polk. “This is a high school kid doing an organized criminal act and they’re going to be held appropriately accountable.”
It’s why many school districts are warning parents to be proactive when it come to their children and social media.
“I encourage parents periodically to look through their students’ backpacks because you have students who get their hands on something because of access and it’s not something you’d ever expect from your child,” Dawson said, “but the best way to protect them is to be proactive and be part of what’s going on and that’s looking at phones and social media accounts.”
We reached out to several Memphis-area school districts about the TikTok challenge. SCS responded:
“We have not seen a trend of TikTok related incidents in our schools, the district will address individual and isolated behavior in accordance with our Code of Conduct. Parents are encouraged to speak with their child about appropriate school behavior.”