Schools Are Sick of the Devious Lick


Courtesy of Michelle Nyugen

Self-administered COVID tests that got stolen in other schools

Starting from early September, stealing school property became a trend for high schoolers in the United States. From soap dispensers to self-administered COVID tests, students have been looting a variety of school property to join in on the TikTok trend.

The ritual, deemed the “Devious Lick,” originates from the slang “hit a lick.” According to Urban Dictionary, the term correlates to the word “robbery.” TikTok videos featuring this trend typically have a caption labeling that the participant, or thief, had just “hit a devious lick.” 

The trend started when a TikTok user posted a video of him grabbing a box of stolen disposable masks from his school bag. This was soon followed by another user who posted a similar video of a stolen hand sanitizer dispenser. Both videos went viral on the platform, sparking a new trend for students to partake in. In spite of both videos being taken down, other TikTok users have continued the charade and followed suit.

Although the trend first started with stealing smaller objects such as  face masks and hand sanitizer, students soon began to steal a variety of objects, targeting school bathrooms. Stolen objects include toilet seats, bathroom mirrors, paper towel dispensers, and an array of materials. Other school equipment has been stolen as well, such as caution signs, projectors, and computers.. Even more startling, some students have stolen self-administered COVID tests and posted them on Tik Tok for views. 

Even though the theft of COVID tests hasn’t happened at Wilcox High School, Principal Gonzalez has expressed her concerns. “We were supposed to start our weekly pool testing a week earlier. But the district sent out communication that it was delayed because there’s a short supply of tests across California,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “And when somebody steals the little supply that we have, then it prevents us from being able to offer a test to somebody who needs one.”

This trend has negatively influenced many school communities including Wilcox High School. These thefts may lead to risks and not having access to such resources causing a potential spread of the virus on the school campus. This also causes more workload for the staff, who, on top of their regular responsibilities, are trying to contain the virus.

Tik Tok has incorporated new guidelines that are designed to contain this trend. They have removed many videos relating to this topic. There won’t be any results found when the hashtag is searched, as it violates the guidelines of the company. Students have also been arrested by police and faced legal action.

On Friday, September 10th, Ms. Gonzalez made an announcement regarding this topic. In the announcement, she listed the consequences the student would face. First of all, the California Education code “states that students or staff should not intentionally vandalize or destroy property from a school environment.” Ms. Gonzalez also added, “The California Penal Code, which is a law that governs Californian citizens, also speaks specifically to schools and protecting the property of schools and protecting schools from vandalism.” Not only that, there are fines, charge of misdemeanor, and charge of restitution. 

The principal wants students to know “that we know about this, that there are consequences, here’s what the consequences are so that when you make that choice you know upfront what the consequences are.”

Some schools have tried to prevent vandalism by locking up the bathrooms as those areas are the most targeted.. However, this method is not convenient as students are unable to use the bathroom. These trends are ultimately causing restrictions that are troubling many students and staff. 

“I understand why a school would shut down the restrooms, but it’s not something I want to do,” she said. However, she did say that if the vandalism reaches a point where the school and the custodial staff is unable to provide clean, accessible restrooms for students, the school might have to start shutting them down at certain times.

“We have 2000 students and 2 daytime custodians,” she explained. “To have this, what’s become daily destruction of school property, mainly in the restrooms, has been really disappointing and really frustrating especially for our custodial staff, who have to clean and repair, and for our security staff, who are trying to make sure everybody has a safe place to be.”

Unexpectedly, kind deeds have sprouted from this devious trend. The “Angelic Yield,” a counter-trend to the “Devious Lick” has got people doing kind things for each other. There have been instances of this counter-trend on the Wilcox High School campus, which the principal has found “really heartwarming.” 

The effect of a single TikTok trend on a school community was shown. However, the impact would change depending on which trend students join. The Devious Lick destroys school property and makes things harder on the community. The after-effects of vandalism are tiresome to everyone on campus.