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TikTok ‘devious licks’ challenge is damaging schools

Poway Unified School District issues warning to parents.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A local school district has issued a warning about the latest TikTok challenge, where students are posting videos of theft and vandalism.

It is called the "devious licks" challenge and it only took two weeks for the challenge to spread nationwide.

A lick is slang for stealing something and getting away with it.

It this case, students are stealing and vandalizing soap and hand sanitizer dispensers from school bathrooms, ripping off bathroom stall doors, and trashing school property.

The trend reportedly started on September 1, when a TikTok user posted a screenshot showing off a box of disposable masks the user claimed to have stolen from a school.

"A month into school, absolutely devious lick,” the caption on the post said.

Now, about two weeks later, the theft and vandalism has spread all over the country, including schools in the Poway Unified School District.

Poway Unified spokesperson Christine Paik said the district recently put out a notification to parents.

“Keep an eye on what your kids are posting on social media, bringing home in their backpack, storing in their rooms,” Paik said.

Devious licks is just the latest in a long list of challenges on TikTok.

“Recently, I can think of the milk cart challenge, people were getting hurt and going to the ER,” said Paik. “It’s kind of escalating and trying to one-up one another and try to see what they can steal from their school.  This does not benefit anyone and it's not funny.”

The challenge amounts to committing a crime on video, and then posting evidence of that crime for all to see, including the police.  Additionally, most public schools have security cameras on campus.

“We do have surveillance cameras all over our school campuses and so we are reviewing that footage and we'll be working with law enforcement,” said Paik.

TikTok is aware of the problem and the company recently started removing videos under the hashtag #deviouslicks and #deviouslick.

Poway Unified did not have information on citations or arrests associated with the challenge. In most cases, the crimes involve juveniles, so parents would be notified if charges were filed.

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