Citrus County School Board members and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) have chimed in on the “devious licks” TikTok trend that has wreaked havoc on schools nationwide.

Participating students have been vandalizing and stealing school property, mostly from restrooms, and posting their conquests to social media via the video app, TikTok. National incidents range anywhere from breaking a mirror to removing a school toilet.

All high schools and some middle schools in the Citrus County School District have been affected by the trend.

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Lecanto High School (LHS) has been forced to close bathrooms due to damages and currently have one working restroom on the top and bottom floors, along with gym locker room restrooms.

Jason Koon, LHS principal, send out a voicemail Sept. 20 to all parents and guardians. Koon said the working restrooms are monitored by staff and students must sign to enter. He encouraged parents and guardians to speak to students about the issue.

The estimated cost of damages in the Citrus County School District are still to be determined.

Board members addressed the issue at their Sept. 21 special meeting and workshop. “I gotta tell you, I’m very disappointed in students who have gotten on the bandwagon,” Citrus County School Board member Doug Dodd said.

Dodd suggested the trend is a result of the overuse of cellphones among youth during class. “I think we need to restrict the students’ ability to be on their phones,” he said.

Doug Dodd mug

Doug Dodd, school board chairman

“Our policy makes it very clear it’s not a right, it’s a privilege,” Citrus County School Board member Thomas Kennedy said about cellphone usage. Currently, cellphone use is governed at the discretion of each principal in each school.

Despite the issues cellphone usage may cause, board members agreed it’s important for students to have access to cellphones in case of an emergency.

Kennedy cited the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Columbine High Schools. “Those devices were also lifeboats for some of these students,” he said.

Thomas Kennedy

Thomas Kennedy

Although no official action has been taken to change school cellphone policies, board members agreed there need to be rules to enforce appropriate use.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is also aware of the “devious licks” TikTok challenge.

“Through a coordinated effort between the sheriff’s office and school district, any student found to have participated in these exploits will be held accountable for their actions and receive the appropriate consequences by both the school and criminal court system,” CCSO told the Chronicle in a Sept. 21 news release.

“This pointless activity only serves to annoy fellow students, desecrate our schools and possibly jeopardize the safety of everyone on campus,” CCSO added.

In addition, CCSO encourages students who witness theft or vandalism of school property to contact their respective school resource deputy or school administrator. Students may also contact CCSO and school leadership through Fortify or Campus Crime Stoppers.

“By working together, we will see a quicker end to these senseless crimes,” CCSO said.   

Hannah Sachewicz is a reporter for the Chronicle. She can be reached at 352-564-2929 or hannah.sachewicz@chronicleonline.com.

(3) comments

NancyTomaselli

Mr Dowd's knee jerk reaction to punish all kids by taking away cell phones in school is senseless and needlessly punishes the innocent. Children have access to these phones 24/7. They especially need them in school because our society has failed to correct the problem of potential shootings in schools. When shootings occur, and they will continue, students will need these phones for communication to protect each other and to communicate with their families.

AllLivesMatter

Future Democrat voters...

One Dutchess

I seem to recall Republicans took some "devious licks" on the capital in DC back on January 6th. I guess you have forgotten that?

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