The start of this school year has already had enough angst with the fight for mask mandates amid COVID outbreaks.
Now, there’s a crazy trend fueled and seemingly told on TikTok: stealing school supplies – everything from soap dispensers and toilets to computers and movie projectors, as well as other school equipment.
Toilets are the main targets of followers of this “sneaky licking” craze, as mirrors, sinks, urinals, ceiling tiles, and toilet doors and partitions are among the prizes stolen and displayed in videos on the social video site.
School administrators began to denounce this trend, calling it vandalism and theft. The Coachella Valley, Calif., Unified School District, east of Los Angeles, posted an “urgent announcement” on Facebook to deter “a TikTok challenge that has gone viral affecting school campuses across the country.”
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Public schools in Fairfax County, northern Virginia, near Washington, DC, sent a notice to parents this week asking them to dissuade their children from engaging in the trend. “We have seen some of this … recently and we are asking for your support in making sure our students do not engage in this unacceptable behavior,” Falls Church (Va.) High School principal Ben Nowak said in a note. to parents.
Beyond the potential movie projector heist, among the other craziest videos is a video posted a week ago with 4.6 million views so far, in which one TikTok user states: “I won this trend,” and unzips a backpack and pulls out a cache of self-administered COVID -19 rapid antigen tests they allegedly stole. They throw the tests on a stack of dozens of more tests, then open a drawer to show more tests.
TikTok is known to trigger trends as diverse as the “milk crate challenge” and more recently a less harmful challenge of eating Rice Krispies before working out.
The trend of “sneaky licks” started earlier this month, according to the Know Your Meme site, when a TikTok user posted a video of himself stealing disposable face masks with the caption “One Month at school absolutely sneaky licking. house mask. “
Since then, high school and college TikTokers have started posting similar videos of their heists. As of Monday, the #deviouslick hashtag had more than 175 million views, according to Mashable.
This hashtag is no longer found in searches on TikTok, which told USA TODAY in a statement that it “is removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our community guidelines to discourage such behavior.”
“We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or allows criminal activity,” the TikTok statement said.
However, several other popular searches remained on the site on Wednesday, including “underhand trending”, “deviouslics” and “the biggest licks of the school year.”
“Licks” refers to thefts or robberies; you might be familiar with the phrase from the 2019 song “Momma I Hit A Lick” by 2 Chainz with Kendrick Lamar. However, most TikTok videos involving these recent licks include a time-lapse version of rapper Lil B’s song “Ski Ski Basedgod”.
Many videos still get millions of views, with some of the wackiest posts including one student claiming to have overwhelmed the school’s internet service and another threatening to hijack the school’s golf cart. “My school banned phones because of this trend,” commented one user.
One video joked on the trend, suggesting that if “you’re a high school janitor and hear this song (the Lil B track) in the hallway,” you know a lick is going on. It has got over 4.8 million views so far.
In northern Virginia, educators are trying to end the practice as schools fight the spread of COVID-19.
“We are particularly concerned because students are damaging paper towel dispensers and stealing soap dispensers in our bathrooms, which is a challenge in maintaining a healthy and safe school environment,” said Amy Goodloe, Principal from Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly, Va., in a message to parents.
McLean (Va.) High School principal Ellen Reilly told The Highlander, the school newspaper, this week: “This is all vandalism. And that’s (during) COVID-19, when people are supposed to wash their hands. It’s not really brilliant.
Contribution: Jonathan Horwitz
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.