“It’s not a prank, it’s a crime:” School districts warn students vandalizing schools for TikTok fame

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — As of Friday, Lubbock ISD has experienced vandalism to their bathrooms in all four district high schools and most of their middle schools in one week alone, administrators report.

The damage follows a viral trend circulating on the social media app TikTok. Known as the “Devious Lick Challenge,” the trend encourages students to destroy school property and steal items from classrooms and restrooms.

The national trend has earned some videos more than 15 million views, but LISD believes it has cost the district thousands of dollars in damage.

“This is not a prank, these are crimes that are being committed,” Lubbock ISD Chief of Police Ray Mendoza said. At least two police reports have been filed against students for vandalism this week, and Chief Mendoza says some offenses can escalate to felonies if the lost property is valuable.

“It is serious because it is a disruption to school. It’s costly, and it is using additional resources,” Lubbock ISD representative Erin Gregg said.

Lubbock ISD says they first noticed damage on Sep. 14 and has since noticed soap dispensers stolen from bathrooms, soap and red Kool-Aid spilt over bathroom floors and walls, toilets and sinks clogged to cause flooding, and sinks ripped straight out of the walls.

One Frenship ISD student who was caught committing a ‘devious lick’ says she regrets it.

“In-school suspension means I couldn’t go on my choir trip, [and couldn’t] participate in any of my basketball games or tryouts,” the student said.

Other students have received out-of-school suspension and have even been charged with crimes.

Chief Mendoza said the district aims to keep disciplinary action within the school district, but certain serious cases necessitate arrests and prosecution.

TikTok has taken steps to limit this trend, removing harmful videos and blocking search terms related to the topic. Lubbock ISD also sent out an email warning parents of the behavior.

“This really isn’t an innocent prank,” Ms. Gregg said. “It really is criminal behavior, and we’re not going to tolerate it. We just want students to know they really are damaging property, they really are committing a criminal offense, and we take it seriously. And we’ll keep investigating until we find the culprits.”

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