HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW / AP) – Horry County Schools district has seen an uptick in vandalism by students within the past two weeks as part of a viral TikTok trend called “devious licks” — slang for theft.
Kids at schools across the U.S. are posting TikTok videos of themselves vandalizing school bathrooms and stealing soap dispensers and even turf from football fields, bedeviling school administrators seeking to contain the viral internet trend.
Horry County Schools officials said they have identified 26 incidents to date related to the challenge. “We have been able to identify all participants of these acts, and they will be held accountable for their actions,” said spokesperson Lisa Bourcier.
The “devious licks” challenge has been sweeping social media over the past two weeks and is plaguing principals and school district administrators, who already must navigate a bitter debate over requiring masks to keep COVID-19 in check. Some schools have had to more closely monitor or even shut down bathrooms, where much of the damage is occurring.
Horry County Schools officials are urging parents to talk to their children about this Tik Tok challenge and their behavior while at school. “We work very hard and pride ourselves in providing clean buildings with a great atmosphere, and we will not tolerate such disruptive behavior,” Bourcier said.
A spokesperson said TikTok was removing “devious licks” content and redirecting hashtags and search results to its guidelines to discourage the behavior and that it doesn’t allow content that “promotes or enables criminal activities.”
Principals with HCS have been active in letting students and parents know of several possible consequences, including out-of-school suspension, financial restitution, criminal charges, loss of driving privileges, and more.
TikTok confirmed it was in the process of removing videos connected to the “devious licks” trend, which are in violation of the platform’s community guidelines.
However, the “devious licks” hashtag already had more than 175 million views.