Students Stealing School Property for Foolish TikTok Trend

The following story was written by a student enrolled in HDV’s Journalism Production course.

By Eli Lambrych ’23

The outside of one of the student bathrooms at Hilliard Davidson, photo by Eli Lambrych

Throughout the previous month, there have been multiple instances of students destroying and stealing school property in the student bathrooms at Hilliard Davidson. As part of a challenge called β€œdevious licks,” originating from users on social media platform TikTok, students across the world have been stealing soap dispensers, paper towel holders, and vandalizing bathrooms in schools.

β€œWhen I was a middle school principal [at Heritage], we used to have some restroom issues, like people clogging the toilet with paper towels, and stuff like that,” said Ms. Joyce Brickley, the principal of Davidson High School in an interview last week, β€œBut as long as I’ve been a high school principal … we’ve never had anything like this. Yeah, thank you TikTok.”

Davidson, along with the other schools in the district, have tried to counteract what has been happening, such as closing off restrooms and repositioning hall monitors closer to the restrooms. β€œWe also offered a reward, if you will. We had some Donatos free pizza cards if anybody gave us any information about some of the people who were doing the actions,” added Ms. Brickley.

However, many students weren’t happy with the limitations on the bathrooms that resulted from the vandalism, with HDV Junior Lindsey Hall, a member in the Davidson Marching Band saying, β€œSometimes the bathroom lines are so long that I show up late to my after school activities because I was waiting in line to change and use the restroom.”

An email from Hilliard City Schools was sent to parents and guardians of students about the situation, β€œThere will be consequences for students who choose to engage in this behavior, possibly including law enforcement involvement.” While School Resource Officer Sam DiSaia was unable to discuss any specific legal matters, he said that the consequences for these actions could either be vandalism, criminal damage or endangering, or criminal mischief, depending on the severity of the property being broken or stolen. Ms. Brickley said that β€œI don’t think we’ve had any criminal charges, but we did have some school discipline.”

Schools are not the only ones who are counteracting the β€œdevious licks” challenge. β€œWe’re removing content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior,” said a tweet posted by the official TikTok Communications Twitter account, followed with the message, β€œPlease be kind to your schools and teachers.”

β€œThe restrooms [don’t] belong to the administrators. It’s the student’s restrooms, so … it’s really counterproductive to destroy or lose privileges. Like you’re doing it to yourself almost, and I think it’s just very immature,” said Ms. Brickley.