Viral ‘devious lick’ TikTok challenge makes impact on the Park’s budget and atmosphere

Within a month of starting school, students at P-CEP have destroyed school property by stealing or attempting to steal a classroom telephone, a toilet lid, soap dispenser, and lotion dispenser, while participating in the viral “devious lick” TikTok trend. 

The TikTok challenge gained popularity in September, as school began for many students across the country, including those at the P-CCS district. September’s challenge encouraged students to steal substantial fixtures from their schools; the thefts have become known as “devious licks.” 

While some students thought the challenge was amusing, others opposed the participants’ actions. 

Plymouth junior, Paige Brown, voiced her discontent with the trend. “To be honest, I think it’s pretty stupid because it’s just a sick joke, and I don’t understand how people think it’s like funny to steal school property.” 

Brown continued to describe a personal experience where a student in one of her classes participated in the challenge by taking a classroom phone and placing it in his backpack. His backpack was later searched by a security guard and the phone was recovered. The student will be facing some legal consequences, however it has not been specified what he was charged for.

Security Manager Eric Kolke confirmed the telephone incident, adding that the school also lost a toilet lid, soap dispenser, and lotion dispenser. Kolke also said that despite all the items being replaced, punishment for participating in the “devious lick” TikTok challenge would include suspension, reimbursement for the stolen article, and criminal charges for malicious destruction of property and larceny from a building. 

“The school will have to pay for the damages out of funds that could affect other programs in the school,” the security guard added. This could potentially include sports, the arts and other school-funded activities.

While minor costs throughout the schools may be affected, Patti McCoin, president of the P-CCS school board, said that thus far, there has not been enough destruction from the TikTok trend to significantly impact the budget towards major school developments and improvements.

Not only has the trend led to criminal offenses and left the school with unforeseen damage costs, but McCoin stated in an email that the destruction and theft inconveniences students as they attend classes on campus. She added that school facilities being vandalized or defaced has greatly impacted the educational experience and learning environment of other students.

Luckily, teachers among the three high schools haven’t experienced too many of the repercussions from the challenge, said Salem English teacher, Patricia Snyder.  However, if something were to be taken, Snyder said teachers would be responsible for replacing the item. “Teachers have little to no classroom budget at all, so everything you see in a teacher’s classroom has either been gifted to them, donated to them, or the most likely scenario, paid for out of pocket,” said Snyder. As a result, many teachers have cautiously been storing more expensive personal items, such as coffee makers, during the school day, said Snyder

Many of the Park’s staff and students seem dumbfounded as to why the challenge has even occurred. “Our biggest question for all of this is why would a student want to destroy their school’s property,” said Kolke, “when they are the ones who would be using it on a daily basis?”