Schools across the U.S. have raised the alarm against the rise of theft and vandalism on school property as students participate in a new and viral "Devious Licks" TikTok trend.
Aubrey Chancellor of the North East Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, confirmed that their schools were missing paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers, mirrors, and light fixtures because the students took these items for the video challenge. The communications director informed Fox News via email that they will not hesitate to impose "disciplinary action" and demand restitution if the students are caught.
Florida's River Ridge High School principal, Dr. Toni Zetzsche, also announced on Facebook that they would investigate students participating in the "Devious Licks" TikTok trend. She warned that there would be law enforcement intervention for students responsible for the theft and vandalism.
School administrators at the Coachella Valley Unified School District in California also posted an announcement on Facebook to discourage the students from doing the viral challenge. Virginia's Fairfax County Public Schools emailed parents to inform them of the hyped trend and asked their support to talk to their kids about "not engaging in this unacceptable behavior."
What is a 'Lick'?
One student told USA Today that mobile phones had been banned in their school because of this Tiktok trend.
The Urban Dictionary defines "licks" as thefts that bring an "acceptable, impressive and rewarding payday." In this case, the reward for participants is more views and popularity on TikTok.
In 2019, Kendrick Lamar rapped about a robbery in the song, "Momma I Hit A Lick," which some TikTok users have been using as their background music. Others have also used "Ski Ski Basedgod," from rapper Lil B as the soundtrack of their theft and vandalism.
Taking Things Too Far
In early September, when schools opened in the U.S., a teenager took some COVID antigen testing kits from his school and posted the video on TikTok. He declared that he "won" the challenge after his heist, and his video has racked up over 4.6 million views in a week.
Nearly 110,000 videos of the "Devious Licks" TikTok trend have proliferated on the social networking site as of September 13 as the students brag about topping the "biggest lick." While some students enjoyed the "harmless prank," other TikTok commenters said that the challenge had taken things too far because it involved criminal activity.
However, a spokesperson for TikTok said they are actively removing videos and hashtags relating to the trend as it violates their community standards. The company stated that they do not want content promoting or enabling criminal acts. The spokesperson, however, could not comment on the sanctions for specific accounts.
According to NBC News, TikTok hasn't been consistent in implementing the community guidelines as other lick videos continue to trend on the platform.
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