TikTok trend “Devious Licks” takes over Fenton High

Riann Masi, Writer

A viral app called TikTok, which rose to popularity during the peak of COVID-19, has gained millions of users in the last year and a half. Through this app, people can create dance videos, theatre skits or give followers the rundown on how to make an upside-down cake. Recently TikTok videos of students stealing objects as small as salt shakers to objects as big as toilets in public bathrooms have gone viral and students at Fenton High have started to participate. This trend, known as the “Devious Licks,” is leading students to vandalize or steal the property in the school bathrooms. 

“In the last month, there have been soap/hand sanitizer dispensers stolen from the school, hallways and field house,” Principal Laura Lemke said. “Sinks and stall doors have also been dismounted from the bathrooms as well.” 

With these major damages, the school has had to implement new procedures: teachers watching the bathrooms during their planning hours and maintenance having to figure out ways to mount the bathroom objects more securely. 

“It’s a shame when so many people are involved in preventing something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Lemke said. “Teachers and monitors are taken away from their duties to watch the bathrooms. From a student’s perspective it’s frustrating when we have to close a bathroom to investigate an incident of a dismantled stall door.” 

With Fenton High having only three bathrooms for both boys and girls, there is a frustration for students when one or more of those bathrooms are shut down because of vandalism, especially when there are no soap dispensers and a few of the stall doors are missing. 

“At the beginning of the trend I had a few laughs at the little things I saw being stolen on TikTok,” junior Abby Logan said. “But when you enter a bathroom and notice there is no soap in any of the three dispensers, there is frustration towards the students that continue to do this. Unlike some people, I would like to wash my hands while we are in a global pandemic.” 

The number of TikTok users has increased by 30 percent during the global pandemic of COVID-19. There are over 50 million people using the TIkTok app everyday and that’s only in America, according to Strategy Suite. 

“TikTok got people talking about the trend, using it as a marketing strategy to increase their users at the downfall of school property,” Lemke said. “I think TikTok needs to think about what is good for their young users and question, ‘Is what I’m posting appropriate?’ I think as such a large platform with such young people using their app they have a moral responsibility to be more appropriate with their suggestions.” 

There are major consequences to the viral trend that TikTok is promoting— students can face a misdemeanor with fines.

“Consequences for these students would be larceny by stealing from a building, so it’s a higher misdemeanor with fines and jail time that can come along with doing this,” Fenton Area Public Schools Resource Officer Tom Cole said. “By stealing a soap dispenser from school you could get a record. I would hope Fenton High students would be smarter than to participate in these peer-pressure trends.” 

Students at Fenton High participating in this viral trend can hurt their future opportunities because of the decision to steal a soap dispenser from the school bathroom. This trend led by a very large social media platform is more evidence that social media is a major influence on the world’s teens in the 21st century.