A new viral Tik Tok challenge has generated thousands of dollars in damage to schools in several California school districts, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This viral trend, which began earlier this month, encourages students to share their acts of vandalism. Considering that Tik Tok has become so popular with teenagers, it was to be expected that schools would fall victim to this new form of youth entertainment.
Bathrooms have become the leading choice for their activities, where toilets are ripped out, mirrors stolen or destroyed, and hand dryers ripped off the wall, among other misdeeds.
This unfortunate challenge leads young people to share videos on the social network showing the moment they carry out their vandalous activities.
The new trend is called “Devious lick.” A ‘lick’ on social media involves stealing, breaking, or destroying school property.
This phenomenon has gone national and has affected districts such as San Jose, East Bay Area, Elk Grove, and Coachella Valley in California.
Another of the affected districts was the Coalinga-Huron Unified School District, belonging to Fresno County, where the damage caused by students from fifth grade onwards amounted to more than $20,000, according to the district’s superintendent Lori Villanueva.
From fifth grade up into high school, students have stained toilets with red ink and trashed soap and toilet paper dispensers in many schools.
As of last Friday, the district had replaced 41 soap dispensers at eight schools.
“We don’t usually have this kind of vandalism,” Villanueva said. “The fact that we had it at such a high degree in such a short amount of time caught us off guard.”
She also reported that the district is paying school bus drivers to guard the restrooms and stop most of the student vandalism.
The superintendent reported that a dozen students were caught either through their Tik Tok videos or directly in the act and suspended. In addition, their parents will have to pay for the damages caused and the youngsters will have to help maintenance personnel clean the bathrooms, among other actions.
As a result of these events, Tik Tok deleted the hashtags referring to this trend to discourage such acts of vandalism.
This Thursday, through a letter, the assistant supervisor of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District in the East Bay Area, Christine Huajardo, informed parents that there were acts of vandalism that caused severe damage to school facilities.
Coachella Valley Unified School District, in turn, encouraged students and parents to report these types of acts through a school safety app after fire alarms, signs, and towel dispensers were stolen from district schools.
In many other districts around the country, restrooms were closed, and special bathroom schedules were created.
For their part, the major districts in Los Angeles County, Long Beach Unified, LA Unified reported that they were not affected by this new trend so far.
Los Angeles School Police Department Sergeant Rudy Perez told the Los Angeles Times that they are aware of the situation and are monitoring social media and asking parents to keep an eye on their children.