Destruction and Consequences: Devious Licks

The TikTok challenge hit Highland High


A broken paper towel dispenser and tile in a school bathroom. Iamreallygoodatcheckers, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Ella McDowell, Reporter

Middle school, high school, college, and even elementary school students are vandalizing their school’s property (particularly the bathrooms) and posting them to social media as a result of Tik Tok’s recent “Devious Lick” challenge.  

These “devious licks” can range anywhere from stealing a soap dispenser to stealing a flagpole or classroom projector.  Regardless of how big or small it may seem, any act of vandalism is punishable.  Because students partaking in this trend are posting their results to social media, it has been easier to hold them accountable for their actions.  According to Melinda Murphy, principal at Highland High School, “Depending on the vandalism and the extent of the damage, they may be charged for the cost of repairs/clean up, be suspended for 1-10 days, or potentially face criminal charges.” 

When facing criminal charges for such a thing, it can be tried as a misdemeanor or a felony.  At this point, they are at risk of facing 1.5-3 years in juvenile detention.  Since a majority of seniors are of 18 years of age, instead of juvenile detention, they would go to prison.  “We absolutely don’t want to see our students in that situation.”  Not only will the students be punished, but their parents can also receive a “parental liability” fee of up to $25,000. 

As a result of students vandalizing the bathroom at Highland Highschool, they have closed to bathrooms in an attempt to monitor students coming and going from the bathrooms.  Backpacks are not allowed to be taken with the students into the restrooms and teachers have been told to use the phone pockets during class periods.  Emails have been sent to parents explaining the consequences and how to prevent their children from vandalizing school property.  

When students at HHS first started contributing to the “devious lick” trend, Principal Murphy stated, “I was disappointed more than anything. … everyone who works at Highland does so because they love the kids… to have kids think that it’s funny to steal things and create a huge mess is really nothing more than disrespecting the care that people have poured into them.” 

Not only does the recent vandalism affect the students, but it also causes issues for the staff and administrators at HHS.  The custodians have to clean up the messes made and it comes out of the school’s money to pay for the repairs necessary and the extra labor for the custodians to clean it up.  The security guards have helped figure out where there have been problems.  Teachers have wasted their time and the student’s time talking to them about respecting the school’s property instead of teaching.  

To help prevent this from happening, parents could talk to their children about the consequences.  Students, as well, could help staff and faculty members by saying something if they see something.  

“From the admin team to the teachers, to the security guards, to the custodians – all of us work hard to make this place a place where kids want to be.” -Principal Murphy.