CBS New York, by Christina Fan: A new, destructive TikTok craze has teens stealing and damaging property at schools.
The challenge has spread here locally, with districts from New Jersey to Connecticut reporting thousands of dollars in damage while issuing warnings to students and parents, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported Monday.
From stealing school supplies to trashing bathrooms, students around the country are jumping on a viral TikTok trend.
Parents and teachers are quickly getting a crash course, too.
“I was completely unaware of this phenomenon. But lo and behold, the very next day, we experienced a form of mild vandalism,” said Chris Wacha, superintendent of Haledon Public School.
Wacha said a day after his son warned him about a challenge called “Devious Licks” last week, someone caused $400 in plumbing damage to the boys’ bathroom.
“It’s not good. They need to shut this down. They need parents of the kids to come in and explain. This is a serious matter,” parent Florencio Hernandez said.
“For every action there is a reaction, so if you do something that’s not cool, then something not cool is going to happen to you,” parent Machanga Blackmon added.
In Connecticut, some school administrators are taking drastic action, joining Sen. Richard Blumenthal at the state capitol Monday to demand TikTok ban users who have participated in the trend.
“Theft and vandalism are glorified, literally. The viral videos depict as heroes the students who are stealing,” Blumenthal said.
The social media site says it has already taken steps to shut down the trend by removing content.
If you search the hashtag “Devious Licks,” a message appears saying “no results found.”
In Haledon, those responsible were disciplined. The superintendent said the key to preventing future vandalism lies within kids.
“I want them to kind of go through the full decision-making process, and analyze and be an independent thinker,” Wacha said.
The process starts with parents talking with their children.
Blumenthal said, nationally, there have been over 94,000 of these viral videos over the last couple of months.
“There is a wide field of usefulness before all who will work for the Master in caring for these children and youth who have been deprived of the watchful guidance of parents and the subduing influence of a Christian home. Many of them have inherited evil traits of character; and if left to grow up in ignorance, they will drift into associations that lead to vice and crime. These unpromising children need to be placed in a position favorable for the formation of a right character, that they may become children of God.” Adventist Home, 167.