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TikTok’s ‘Devious Licks’ challenge hits St. Louis area as schools report vandalism



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    ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOV) — At least eight area school districts confirmed to News 4 that items have been stolen or damaged in school bathrooms. The antics appear to stem from a challenge on the social media platform, TikTok, that’s called, ‘Devious Licks.”

The principal of Eureka High School, in the Rockwood School District, sent an email to parents and students over the weekend. Dr. Corey Sink wrote, “Over the past week, our students and staff have had to deal with multiple acts of vandalism in our school restrooms, fueled in part by national social media challenges that encourage students to engage in destructive behaviors within their own schools.”

As part of the challenge, students are to steal an item from their school or damage an item and then post a video about it on TikTok. Often the damage is in school restrooms where soap dispensers are the favorite item to steal.

Deanna Morris is the parent of two teenagers and has a TikTok account.

“So as soon as I saw it I had a talk with my kids,” she said.

Other parents were surprised that students would be bold enough to brag in their online posts about committing vandalism without realizing the potential consequences.

“Kids just aren’t being disciplined these days. I mean I would have never thought of doing something like that when I was that age,” said Stacy Fujiwara.

Dr. Eric Messias is the chair of Psychiatry at Saint Louis University Hospital. He said the positive feedback and notoriety that students get from posting their videos online spreads to other teens like a contagious virus. He said it’s called, ‘social contagion.’

“These type of ideas of course for some people look dumb, but for some others, they look at as a badge of honor, as something that they feel they belong somewhere, that they part of a daring group, the kind of the cool kids,” he said.

Messias said parents need to talk to their children about this kind of behavior and stress that there are consequences for a person’s actions. He also said if the students who stole or vandalized their school were made to spend the weekend cleaning up or doing extra school work, they’d learn the price is too high to do something like that again.

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