Some Houston-area students damaging school bathrooms for TikTok challenge

Magnolia, Texas – The Magnolia Independent School District said students responsible for vandalism connected to a TikTok challenge will face discipline.

The school district said a few of its facilities have been affected by the “devious lick” challenge, which includes people removing or damaging items in restrooms.

“I’ve seen people stealing mirrors and bathroom stuff,” said student Anaye Pollard, who has seen videos from other schools.

A photo posted on Facebook on Thursday showed mirrors and soap dispensers missing at Magnolia High School. The photo was included in the comments of a post as parents discussed the issue.

A parent shared a photo from Magnolia West High School taken Thursday that also showed sinks with no mirrors or soap dispensers.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Henry Lott, a parent. “You’re costing the taxpayers more money. We’re already in a pandemic. How can you wash your hands?”

Spring Branch Independent School District has also been addressing issues related to the TikTok challenge. On Friday, a school official told KPRC 2 that the district has seen issues that could be related to the challenge in the last several days.

“We’re hearing this now from schools,” a note to KPRC 2 read. “This afternoon our middle and high school principals are sending out this message to parents urging them to help us to stop this senseless destruction of school property.”

Parents,

Acts of vandalism by students, including criminal behavior, have been occurring at schools across Spring Branch ISD, across Texas, and the entire nation in recent days. We believe that these incidents are the result of students seeing viral videos that encourage them to destroy school property for fun.

Please know that students who engage in this type of behavior will be punished, and that punishment could include criminal charges.

These students are participating in a social media phenomenon called the “Devious Licks” challenge on the TikTok app.

This destructive activity, which mainly occurs in school bathrooms, is costing schools tens of thousands of dollars in damages. Toilets are being destroyed, soap dispensers stolen or torn apart, bathroom stalls ruined with red dye, fire extinguishers sprayed, along with many other acts of mayhem.

This must stop. I’m asking that you please talk with your children and warn them that the consequences will be severe if they take part in this type of senseless destruction of their own school property. The consequences could range from disciplinary action to fines to felony criminal charges, depending on the activity and the value of the damage.

If your student witnesses any destruction of property, they should notify the administrator on duty immediately. Let’s all work together to be proud of our school and our facilities that are here for the benefit of all our children.

Terry Abbott

Executive Director

Communications and Community Engagement

Spring Branch Independent School District

Schools across the country are reporting similar problems.

“I feel that if they find out who is doing it, then they need to be held responsible and they need to pay for the damage,” said Candice Atwood, a parent.

The school district said students responsible for the damage will receive appropriate discipline, which could include expulsion.

“Campus administrators are investigating each instance as damaging school property is a violation of the code of conduct and in some instances a criminal offense,” the school district said in a statement.

TikTok said it’s taking action.

“We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities. We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement.


About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.