Viral TikTok Challenge Costs California School Districts Tens of Thousands of Dollars in Damage
A viral TikTok challenge that encourages students to steal and vandalize school property has already cost a single district $20,000 in damage. Police and school officials are urging parents to talk to their children about the trend and encourage them to report violations to authorities.
The trend is known as “Devious Licks” and it originated with a teenager on TikTok who filmed himself with a stolen box of face masks. A copycat video emerged of a teen who had stolen a school’s hand sanitizer dispenser off the wall. That video racked up 7.2 million views over a 24-hour period.
Schools across the country soon began reporting widespread theft and vandalism. Over a three-day period, the Central Valley’s Coalinga-Huron School District had to replace more than 40 soap dispensers. In addition to the soap, toilet paper dispensers and hygiene product dispensers are “being absolutely ripped off the wall,” Superintendent Lori Villanueva told YourCentralValley.com. “All of the products being thrown into toilets being thrown around the bathroom.” The estimated damage: $20,000.
Selma High School in the San Joaquin Valley has closed its bathrooms to prevent vandalism. Franklin High School in Elk Grove had to do the same. Mesa Verde High School in Citrus Heights has suffered untold damage.
Schools in Contra Costa County have also been hit. In a letter to parents Thursday, San Ramon Valley Unified said the trend had resulted in “severe damage” to the school. The state’s largest district, LA Unified, had not experienced any major issues as of last week, but nearby Ventura County schools had.
Across the U.S., “Devious Licks” is resulting in a spate of youth arrests, which can have serious implications for the future. Research has shown that youth who face suspension or expulsion as adolescents are more likely to end up in prison as adults.