Devious licks: Schools change security to combat TikTok challenges

Missouri

AFFTON, Mo. – TikTok trends sweeping the nation have districts and police departments asking parents and guardians to talk to their children and students about making sure they understand it’s “unacceptable behavior.”

“We had a bit of a hectic start to the school year and certainly, the devious licks didn’t help us out any at all,” said Affton High School Principal Deann Myers.

A recent challenge, called “devious licks,” encourages students to post videos stealing or damaging school property to TikTok.

“We had soap dispensers that were removed, there were I believe there was some dye put into a toilet at one time, we had some situations of toilet paper, writing on the wall,” Myers said. “We did see some vandalism in our bathrooms, we saw students that even had taken things from the bathroom, so there was some damage, there was some things that were stolen from the bathroom.”

TikTok later announced it would remove videos of the ‘devious licks’ challenge off its platform. Because of these trends, Myers’ workday has changed.

“We put monitors right outside the bathroom, I myself as a principal have a bathroom, I walk through every single hour to ensure that it has been taken care of and there’s nothing in there I need to be alerted to, so I can narrow down when something happens,” she said.

It’s a similar story in the Fort Zumwalt School District.

“Sometimes it was soap dispensers knocked off, maybe it was toilet paper,” Superintendent Bernard DuBray said

Both school leaders said students faced consequences, including paying for their damages. Myers said students involved also met with the custodians or janitors who had to clean up what they damaged, so they could put an action, to a name or a face, and apologize.

Myers and DuBray said thanks to technology, it wasn’t difficult to figure out who was behind the damages.

“Most of those were posted on social media so we were able to track down a lot of those situations,” Myers said.

“We do have cameras in all our hallways so we can pretty much who was in the restroom at various times,” DuBray said.

Both districts communicated with students and parents, to try and help get it to stop and help stay ahead of the ever-changing trends.

The Affton School District sent a letter to parents about a new trend, “smack a staff member.” The letter asked parents to “Please talk to your child tonight and make sure they understand this is not acceptable behavior.”

Chief Michael Fillback with the Edwardsville Police Department said his department hasn’t been referred any cases derived from Tiktok trends, but he wants parents and students to know these trends could come with serious consequences.

“There’s no purpose to it other than I guess to get social media notoriety,” Fillback said. “Anytime that you are striking or stealing or damaging someone else’s property whether its individual’s property or government property, you can absolutely be charged for that.”

Districts and Chief Fillback said they need help from parents to communicate with their students.

“Really we need some help from parents, and they need to set some parameters for their kids,” DuBray said.

“As a parent, you always have to be talking to your children about what they’re doing on social media, what they’re watching on TV,” Chief Fillback said.

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