This week the Dean of Student Life at Greenwich High School, Thomas Pereira, sent an email to parents about the trend on the social media app TikTok, called “Devious Licks,” which involves stealing, breaking, or destroying school property.
According to Associated Press, students across the US have been posting TikTok videos of themselves vandalizing bathrooms in their schools, stealing soap dispensers and even making off with turf from football fields.
Since the start of school, administrators across the country have been trying to stop the trend, which has resulted in an expensive tab at some schools. While the vandalism is on the part of a small group of students, everyone is impacted when bathrooms have to be monitored or are closed.
The devious licks challenge isn’t the first one to backfire. The recent “Tide Pods challenge” resulted in poisonings.
Before that, there was #YOLO, as in you only live once. YOLO should be about taking advantage of opportunities to make the most of life, taking some worthwhile risks, but then there were the drunken keg stands and and some broken arms.
Mr. Pereira’s letter said to date there have been about $500 in damaged soap dispensers in an already tight facilities budget.
“We have heard that this may be the first of many TikTok Challenges trending, and we would like to nip this in the bud before it grows,” he wrote.
“As a school community, we cannot understand why students would want to participate in such acts, but to us, this trend speaks to a larger issue – the potential dangers of social media. We totally understand that due to the pandemic, many of our students may be seeking outlets to feel like they belong, or to be seen, but there are many positive avenues that we can offer them,” he added.
Pereira said the school offers a wide variety of clubs and sports teams, in addition to the new Flex Time and Homerooms.
“As a school community, we seek to build relationships with our students since we understand that when students feel valued and appreciated, they are less likely to destroy property or participate in these challenges,” he said, adding that all incidents of vandalism will be investigated.
As for the soap dispensers, he said, “Based upon our investigation, we will apply necessary and appropriate consequences, which could include the involvement of law enforcement or repayment for the destroyed property.”
Pereira cited the “Vision of the Graduate” and said the school community seeks to grow students’ personal capacities to conduct themselves ethically and responsibly. He asked parents to talk to their children about the social media trend and to encourage them to pursue positive outlets.