TikTok, an app notably used for fun videos, has allowed the nationwide circulation of a more malicious video in nature. In what is called a “TikTok challenge,” a specific “devious lick” challenge has impacted local schools.
The first challenge in September played out in Isle and Hinckley schools where a handful of incidents caused vandalism to school bathrooms. The September “devious lick” challenge, with “lick” meaning that the person stole something, was a challenge to steal something from school and take a video of the theft. The most common items stolen were soap dispensers and other bathroom appliances. Students also stole office equipment, fire extinguishers, security cameras, and other items.
In a message released to students and parents on Facebook Oct. 1, Isle School Superintendent Dean Kapsner said that the latest Tiktok challenge resulted in several acts of bathroom vandalism.
Hinckley Schools released a similar statement and stated the school had experienced at least five separate vandalism events in their bathrooms. On Sept. 20, the Hinckley High School changed its bathroom policy to not allow students to carry their cell phones with them to the bathroom.
And as if the teaching profession isn’t hard enough, with the pandemic creating even more hardship for teachers, they are dealing with a new October TikTok challenge. School administrators said they are aware of the upcoming October challenge of “smack a staff member” and warned students there would be stiff consequences if such behavior developed.
Kapsner said in his statement, “I want to be very clear. If a student hits or smacks any staff member, the act will be considered assault, will be charged as such, and that student could be expelled from school. Any student recording such an event would be considered an accomplice and could also face legal consequences and expulsion.”
He warned the students to not participate in this type or any other behavior with negative, illegal, or harmful consequences to students, staff, or school property. “These actions will be addressed quickly and harshly with a ‘zero tolerance’ response,” added Kapsner.
Hinckley High School Principal Brian Masterson concurred with Kapsner stating that any similar action would be considered assault and that anyone recording such an incident would be considered an accomplice.
Onamia Schools had no incidents, Superintendent JJ Vold reported, but school administration did send out a preemptive warning on Monday, Oct. 4 to students.
A full list of TikTok school challenges can be found online and include upcoming challenges that are equally disturbing as the current challenge, and perhaps more graphic in nature.
TikTok creators told USA TODAY that it was removing content related to “devious licks,” including the hashtag #deviouslicks and redirecting hashtags and search results to their community guidelines to discourage such behavior. However, TikTok users have begun using alternative hashtags to get around the ban.