The “devious lick” TikTok trend damages OHS bathrooms

Preston Meier, Writer

Over the past few years, TikTok has blown up and become one of the staple social media apps for Generation Z. In Feb. 2019, TikTok hit one billion downloads, becoming one of the fastest-growing platforms. TikTok has been known for starting viral trends and most of the time, these trends consist of songs, dances or jokes. These trends are usually funny and lighthearted; however, the biggest trend over the past couple of weeks has been controversial and caused conflict.

The “devious lick” trend has been causing havoc by damaging and stealing other people’s property. The trend was controversial to begin with, but lately, it has become more troublesome. The whole point of the trend is to record yourself stealing or damaging someone else’s property and post it on TikTok. Since TikTok’s primary users are students, school bathrooms have been the main target for these videos. School bathrooms all around the nation have been vandalized and destroyed. The destruction has ranged from stealing soap and hand sanitizer dispensers to taking the stall doors and even taking the toilets from bathrooms.

“Devious licks” at OHS

The “devious lick” trend has also made its way into OHS, with students damaging multiple bathrooms this past week. The damages have not been as serious as other schools, but OHS students have definitely caused a stir. The Police Liaison at OHS, Officer Derrick Quinlan said, “There’s been soap dispensers pulled off the wall, paper towel dispensers have been broken, and we had one incident of red Kool Aid being poured on a toilet.” In response, the second floor C Plaza bathroom and the bathroom at the main intersection of the second floor have been closed as punishment and so they do not get damaged further. These incidents are currently being investigated by Officer Quinlan and the police. Officer Quinlan said, “We are taking it pretty serious. The admin has decided to shut down a few of the bathrooms to keep it limited, so we know who is going in and out of what bathrooms.” 

The administration at OHS has not seen any videos online of the bathrooms being vandalized, but they have been able to identify some of the students who did it. Students who are caught participating in the trend will face punishments within the school that consist of in school or out of school suspension, as well as restitution for the damaged property. Depending on the severity of the damage, there could be criminal charges that seek restitution as well. Officer Quinlan said, “That can add up quick, especially if it is something like tile or grout work, you are looking at maybe $1,000. No one in the school needs a felony record for doing a TikTok trend.”

Pullquote Photo

It is frustrating for myself, as a head custodian, to replace it. I locked it (the bathroom) down for the simple reason that it is damaged and now it is a burden on other students because they can’t use it.

— Head Custodian JJ Ayers

The janitorial staff at OHS has worked hard to repair the damages and felt disrespected by these actions. Head Custodian Mr. JJ Ayers said, “It is frustrating for myself, as a head custodian, to replace it. I locked it (the bathroom) down for the simple reason that it is damaged and now it is a burden on other students because they can’t use it.” For other high school students, they believe the trend has gone too far and is now creating problems for those who are just trying to learn. Senior Noah Kubicek said, “I think the ‘devious lick’ trend is funny at first, but when students ruin bathrooms and other school property, it becomes less funny and just not cool because it creates a major inconvenience for everyone else.” Bathrooms being closed takes a toll on students’ learning process because they have to walk farther to get to a bathroom that is open, which, in return, causes them to miss more class time. 

Damages to school property have not been limited to OHS. Inside of the Owatonna school district, more significant damages have been seen at the middle school and elementary schools. OHS Principal Mr. Kory Kath believes that maturity differences between the students is the reason for less severe damages at the high school. On Friday, Sept. 17, Mr. Kath said, “For the most part, we are really proud that our students respect the school and our spaces here. We have been pretty fortunate that we have had very few incidents and we hope that remains.” Unfortunately, on Monday, Sept. 20 there were additional damages that occurred in the B Plaza bathroom during the third and fourth periods. 

Other schools throughout Minnesota have had to take more serious precautions to stop vandalism. At Stillwater High School, they decided to lock all bathrooms and students are only allowed to use them when there is adult supervision, such as before school, after school, during passing time or during lunch. OHS has only been temporarily locking the vandalized bathrooms.

Since being brought to national attention, the trend has been receiving backlash, so on Sept. 15 TikTok decided to ban the “devious lick” videos and hashtags. TikTok released a statement that denounced the videos because they promote criminal activities. They are removing the content and redirecting search results to their community guidelines. Users that have been caught damaging property for their TikTok video have seen punishments inside the school, such as suspension, as well as criminal charges.

With the TikTok trend being at the peak of its popularity, it has been wreaking havoc on schools nationwide. Officer Quinlan said, “It is gonna take a whole village. We can’t be everywhere, doing everything. Our goal is that the kids in the school now will make good choices as a whole.” The “devious lick” trend has not only damaged school bathrooms but has also damaged students’ ability to learn as well as the community inside OHS.