Several Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25 schools have reportedly experienced vandalism and theft in recent weeks after the district says some of its students began participating in a viral TikTok challenge that encourages the destructive behavior.
The social media trend is called the “devious lick” challenge, and it influences users of the popular platform TikTok to video themselves stealing and damaging school property. The trend has gone nationwide and has now infiltrated area high and middle schools.
District 25 said in a Facebook post last week that all three of its high schools and some of its middle schools had been affected by the TikTok craze.
The school district said several of its school bathrooms’ soap, paper towel and toilet paper dispensers have been stolen and damaged, some “beyond repair.” Other schools across the country that were impacted by the antics have seen damaged ceiling panels and dislodged bathroom stall doors and foundations, though that does not appear to have happened here.
“Our maintenance staff is working hard to replace the damaged or stolen items, only to find that the behavior is occurring repeatedly,” District 25 said of the vandalism.
District 25 Board of Trustees Chairman Dave Mattson said the schools have identified and suspended some of the students who they believe were involved in the bathroom vandalism.
“We have CCTV cameras everywhere. I mean, you can’t do anything anywhere at school that wouldn’t be seen, except in a bathroom,” Mattson said, adding that’s likely how the district caught some of the students after administrators pinpointed the time of the vandalism.
The students who school administrators have identified as having been involved in the property destruction were suspended, according to Mattson, and will likely appear before the board for an expulsion hearing. The students’ parents, he said, will have to pay for the repairs.
“If a student breaks a policy in the school district anywhere, they have to come before the board,” Mattson said.
The chairman said he doesn’t know the exact policy under which the property damage will fall but that the offense is an expellable one.
The board averages about 150 expulsion hearings a year and typically only expels 10 of those students. Mattson said depending on the offense the board tends to favor teaching students a lesson with community service over expelling them and potentially impacting their lives and academic careers.
Courtney Fisher, a spokesperson for District 25, could not be reached for comment for this report by press time on Monday.
Hooligans, a bar in Pocatello, also reported having been touched by the TikTok trend on Friday. Hooligans took to Facebook to tell the community it had reported vandalism in its bathrooms to the police.
“We will report to the cops and will press charges. This is not a funny prank! It’s childish and very inconsiderate to everyone else, including the business who is now out hundreds of dollars in repairs,” the bar’s management wrote on Facebook. “If you are caught at Hooligans doing this, you will be charged and ... you will no longer be welcomed indefinitely!”
A spokesperson for TikTok said in a public statement last week that the platform does “not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities.” TikTok has deleted the “#deviouslicks” hashtag, but users continue to create variations of it with which to post and tag the content.
“Please speak to your children about this issue and help them to understand that vandalism on school property will be referred to local law enforcement,” District 25 wrote on Facebook. “Disciplinary action will be taken for any individuals that are identified as participating in these acts of vandalism.”