Social media trend leads to vandalism, property damage

‘Devious licks’ challenge makes its way to LHS restrooms


Jack Daws

The restroom near the West Entrance has been a victim of the Devious Licks. Currently, only the mens’ restrooms have been effected by the vandalism and theft.

Cece Beckmann and Caoimhe Farris

How far is too far for an online challenge? How far are students willing to go to seem cool or funny on social media?

Such an online challenge can cause hundreds of dollars in property damage. It also irritates much of the student body because it shuts down restrooms, or causes them to be monitored by the administration.

Enter the “Devious Licks”. A trend that started on TikTok, includes students all over the country taking random things from their school, ranging from soap dispensers to laptops.

Assistant Principal Tim Jones said he’s never seen a social media challenge go so far.

“I’m just trying to help provide a safe environment for the boys who aren’t doing this. I have been teaching for 19 years and we’ve never had such idiotic behavior, to put it frankly. We might have had one or two instances but nothing like this,” Assistant Principal Tim Jones said.

The trend, which started in early September, seemed fairly harmless in the beginning, with a TikTok user taking a box of masks and posting the video online. Then less than a week later, another video appeared and the trend took off from there.

The challenge has made it’s way to Lafayette, and Associate Principal Michael Franklin recognizes the severity of the situation.

“To replace [stolen items] can definitely cost a lot. People have been stealing the soap dispensers, damaging hand dryers, and have caused issues with the plumbing, causing leaks from the toilets,” Franklin said. “We’re talking about damage that is costing thousands of dollars, and it’s only going up the more damage that is done. It’s not good.”

In the mens restroom near the West Entrance of LHS, soap dispensers have been ripped from the walls in recent days. (Jack Daws)

For Franklin, he not only wants the bathrooms to be repaired, he also wants those who are responsible for the damage to admit their wrongdoings.

“We are asking kids to come forward. We’re going to start putting up signs if it continues with our hotline number on it so kids are more aware of it so if they see something they have the ability to say something about it right there for them, it’s all anonymous,” Franklin said.

But it’s not just the administration that is feeling the pressure from this online trend. Students, both male and female, are beginning to notice a change in the school.

“I think that if people keep stealing things, they are going to start controlling our bathroom breaks during the day. If this keeps happening, they are really going to start buckling down on us about bathroom use, which would make the day a lot more difficult,” sophomore Paige Miltenberger said.

Franklin has already been posted outside the first floor bathrooms closest to the theater, making sure that groups of students, specifically male, don’t all go in at the same time and steal something else.

“We do have a very small sample size to base this off of, but so far it has been effective. It seems that we have been able to slow it down a lot. What we know of at this point is vandalism and a couple instances of theft. We have seen zero evidence of it happening in the girls restrooms, it has only been happening in the boys restrooms” Franklin said.

He encourages students who see something to go and inform an administrator, even though it might be a bit daunting.

“There’s a lot of fear in kids, especially if it’s a freshman who walks in on a bunch of seniors doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Just come tell us. Kids who are hesitant to come to an administrator, they’ll often go to teachers, so we just ask that they keep their ears open,” Franklin said.