This article first appeared on CBS Minnesota
Minneapolis – A nationwide TikTok trend involving students stealing items from their schools and posting boastful videos online afterwards prompted at least two schools in Twin Cities to crack down this week, stepping up security and surveillance.
In a statement to parents on Thursday, officials at Shakopee West Middle School said social media thefts known as “Devious Licks” have increased dramatically in recent days, leaving bathrooms in particular , damaged.
“We have tried several measures to prevent vandalism and theft, but we have not been able to stop them,” wrote manager Lori Link. “In fact, it’s escalating.
In response, the school says it is temporarily locking student toilets during school hours, although the staff toilets will remain open. The only times the student washrooms will be open are briefly before and after school, during transit time and lunch.
During lunch, however, staff will be stationed outside the washroom, ensuring that no one leaves with a trophy mirror or urinal.
At Stillwater Area High School, administrators say they are stepping up staff supervision and adding cameras in hallways after soap dispensers looted bathroom walls.
“All students who are taken will be subject to the discipline described in our district manual,” Principal Robert Bach said in a statement on Wednesday. “Vandalism and theft at school can result in suspension, expulsion, payment of damages and even criminal charges.
He urged parents to tell their kids about the social media challenge, which started going viral on TikTok last month – inspiring students across the country to try and make their way to online fame.
On Wednesday, TikTok announced it was banning “Devious Licks” videos from the platform, saying they violate the app’s community guidelines.
Videos posted in recent weeks across the country have shown students stealing school furniture – from clocks to computers – and vandalizing rooms by coating walls with soap.
A TikToker, who apparently stole a broom, captioned his video: “Week one, but I got that absolute devious lick.”
Back to school is not only exciting for the students, but also for the parents.
“We got to see the classrooms. We’ve heard about the new program, ”said Suzanne Olson, who recently attended the open house at Maple Grove High School, where her son is a student.
During her stay, she said, the principal also shared a trending issue with parents.
He said, ‘And if you have to use the toilet, don’t worry if you see what looks like blood splattering on the walls. It’s a TikTok prank and it’s really Kool-Aid or something so don’t worry we just haven’t cleaned it up yet, ”she recalls. “It borders on criminal behavior.”
When CBS Minnesota posted “Sneaky Licks” on Facebook, parents listed several other districts with the same issues statewide.
Suspension, expulsion and even criminal charges encompass possible discipline for the students of Stillwater. Olson hopes a harsh conversation at home will make a difference, too.
“This is where parents have problems, is not recognizing that my child might be capable of it,” she said.