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Bay area schools see broken mirrors, stolen toilets amid TikTok challenge

Students are stealing and destroying school property to film for a TikTok challenge.
Credit: pkanchana - stock.adobe.com

TAMPA, Fla. — Bathroom mirrors, toilets, stall doors and ceiling tiles. Students are stealing, breaking and destroying them in schools across the country and right here in the Tampa Bay area. 

And it's all because of a new TikTok challenge called "Devious Lick."

This new trend on the popular video-sharing app is having students steal, break and destroy school property. 

School administrators are calling these actions vandalism and theft, USA Today reports.

River Ridge High School in New Port Richey has seen the impacts of the viral challenge firsthand.

Dr. Toni Zetzsche, the school's principal, released a statement on Facebook claiming to "investigate every single video...monitor and use social media footage to catch the students responsible and...ask for law enforcement intervention in every situation while also providing school discipline at the maximum level allowed. "

Pasco County Schools leaders say they are aware of vandalism and thefts at high schools and middle schools in the district.

"I am aware of at least two students who are being charged criminally. And that’s our message to students," Public Information Officer Stephen Hegarty wrote in an email.

"This is not a harmless prank. This is destructive behavior that results in real damage that will result in school discipline and possible criminal charges for vandalism, theft and/or criminal mischief," Hegarty added.

Hernando County Schools also commented on the trend that is occurring in their buildings, calling for parents and students to help put an end to it.

School leaders remind students that "a few moments of online notoriety are not worth the cost."

Media Relations Specialist for Sarasota County Schools Kelsey Whealy says in an email that there are no set details on the scope of damage or resulting consequences of "licks" as of now. 

"Our schools are aware of the challenge & are reinforcing the message with students & families that these actions are serious & expressly against School Board policy," she wrote.

So what is TikTok doing about this viral "Devious Lick" challenge taking over the app?

All content of the trend is being removed, along with redirecting hashtags and search results to the app's Community Guidelines to discourage the behavior.

"We expect our community to create responsibly, [both] online and in real life," TikTok officials tweeted. "Please be kind to your schools and teachers."