The Citrus County School District is one of the latest to have fallen victim to the “devious licks” TikTok trend wherein students vandalize or steal school property, mostly from restrooms, and post their conquests to social media.
If you have a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, younger cousin, sibling, etc., you’ve probably heard of TikTok. For those who are asking, “What on earth is TikTok,” it’s a social media platform where people can create and post short videos of anything from dance and comedy to education and true crime.
Most trends that circulate on TikTok are harmless, but every so often, something destructive will surface. For example, students participating in the "devious licks" trend have removed everything from restroom stall doors to urinals from their schools.
Students appear to be participating in a competition to see who can vandalize or steal the most absurd item.
Citrus County School District spokeswoman Lindsay Blair said all high schools and some middle schools in the district have been affected by the trend.
Blair said principals have been communicating with students and sending callouts to parents and families.
“We’ve been treating this issue like we would any school vandalism,” Blair said. “This is not a prank. This is destructive behavior that results in real damage that will result in school discipline and possible criminal charges.”
Blair said schools have had stolen or broken mirrors and paper towel dispensers, broken sinks and toilet bowls that have been broken off and placed in the middle of the bathroom.
Students could face possible charges for vandalism, theft and/or criminal mischief. In addition, Blair said tampering with life safety equipment can result in an arrest.
“In many instances it’s hard to prove, because it’s happening inside the bathrooms,” Blair said. Of course, there are no cameras inside the bathrooms, but there are cameras in the hallways.
School maintenance workers have been fixing broken items, but the district does not have an estimated cost for repairs/replacements.
“The irony is that we are identifying some of the perpetrators because we know who they are from the TikTok videos,” Blair said. “Others are being identified by fellow students.”
Blair said any student who is found to have committed vandalism on campus will not be permitted to participate in or attend extracurricular activities unless they have paid all costs associated with repairs or replacements from the damages.