Devious Licks and Other Viral TikTok Trends Impacts Many Schools

From left: Reporter David Ochoa watches senior Lennin Barrera pretend to participate in the devious licks trend while fellow reporter Antonio Heras records the offense.

Arman Sangar

From left: Reporter David Ochoa watches senior Lennin Barrera pretend to participate in the devious licks trend while fellow reporter Antonio Heras records the offense.

Arman Sangar, Staff Writer

A new TikTok trend called “devious licks,” where students vandalize school property, and then post their results on the social media app, TikTok, is affecting schools all over the world.

The trend began on September 1, 2021, when a TikTok user posted a video showing a box of disposable masks, claiming  they stole them from school with the caption, “A month into school absolutely devious lickk. Should´ve brought a mask from home.” Suddenly, posts with the term devious licks began flooding the social media platform showing students stealing: soap dispensers, toilet paper roll shields, sinks, mirrors, urinals, and floor and ceiling tiles. 

Eventually, students began stealing items outside of restrooms, including:fire alarms, exit signs, telephones, fire extinguishers, smart boards, and microscopes. This created chaos not just for TikTok, but school districts had to deal with their campuses being vandalized and expensive items like microscopes and Smarts Boards stolen and damaged. 

TikTok took immediate action, removing many of the videos that were a part of the trend. If you search the term, ¨devious licks¨ on the app, a message from TikTok will say, “No results found. This phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines.” In response, people have started using alternate hashtags such as #despicablelicks or #diabolicallicls. 

The trend led administrators to take action. Two weeks into the trend, the Superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), Jerry Almendarez, sent a letter in response to the trend. In the letter, Almendarez states, “Unfortunately, our schools have reported damages to soap dispensers and hand sanitization stations. In response, we are increasing supervision and monitoring of our campuses. We will also be reviewing video camera footage.” This has caused some schools in SAUSD, including Godinez Fundamental High School (GFHS), to limit the number of restrooms open during school hours and post supervision outside the restroom doors.

In an email, a TikTok spokesperson wrote about why they believe these posts should be terminated. He said, “We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities and we are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior.” 

However, there are still many people stealing or vandalizing school property. Now, a new trend has popped up. This trend has students posting a video of a wall or ceiling while a furious principal speaks on the loudspeaker telling the students to stop the vandalism.

Godinez sophomore Anthony Martinez thinks this trend is very childlike. 

School Resource Officer Yesenia Contreras in her office at Godinez Fundamental High School. This is where Contreras works on reports. Photo taken on October 6 at 1:30 p.m. (Arman Sangar)

“This trend is dumb, its a waste of time and the school money, and we need that money for field trips,” said Martinez

Junior Alyssa Ramos found out about the trend through her friends and TikTok.

“I think it is kind of stupid and kind of ruins schools because it is costing our school money,” said Ramos 

Out of the three security guards at Godinez questioned about the trend, two said they are not familiar with the trend. But one security guard said it has been going on at this school, but has insufficient evidence and said the administration has more information. 

GFHS vice principal Felipe Zamudio found out about this trend on social media and was informed by students. 

”I think this trend is very childish and I just do not see the point of it. I am more concerned if it’s happening at our school than at other schools and currently I have not heard anything because we have great students at our school, not good students, great students!,” Zamudio said.

Lead Custodian Leo Aguilar did have some answers. 

“It cost the district a lot of money and headaches not just for me, but for everybody. The restroom doors hinges were taken off and they even took the huge handicapped door off both up and downstairs. The soap dispensers are all broken and all the paper towel and toilet paper are as well. Also, boxes of masks were stolen,” said Aguilar.

School Resource Officer Yesenia Contreras mentioned she found out about this trend through morning meetings with her team.

“I think its childish in a way and honestly dumb that kids get influenced by TikTok to do these challenges and don’t realize what the consequences are going to be. If they want to handle it with administration the consequence will be suspension, but if they bring it up with me it’s going to be criminal charges,” said Contreras 

Some GFHS seniors are irritated about this trend because it is causing them to resort to restrooms near the cafeteria. Some students describe the restrooms as “disgusting.” 

Three years ago when they were in their freshman year, GFHS bathrooms were closed due to the amount of students vaping in the bathrooms. This made only one bathroom for the entire school to open which caused huge lines during lunch.

To some people, this trend is hysterical because it went from one person stealing a box of masks they could have bought at the store for $5 dollars to school administration all over the world having to work tirelessly to bring this trend to an end, and make a punishment for those that participated.

Unfortunately, this new TikTok trend does not look like it will end soon. New trends have spiked such as the ones where you assault teachers or go straight through crowded hallways not moving at all. In the meantime, let’s hope students learn to stop vandalizing school property by following trends.