TikTok removing ‘devious licks’ videos from platform amid complaints from schools

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The “devious licks” trend, as it’s known on social media, had resulted in students stealing items from their schools, or, in some cases, literally ripping off fixtures of their school’s bathrooms, according to educators in districts across the country. (Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – TikTok is removing videos that show students bragging about stealing items from their schools after the trend started to take off earlier this month.

The “devious licks” trend, as it’s known on social media, had resulted in students stealing items from their schools, or, in some cases, literally ripping off fixtures of their school’s bathrooms, according to educators in numerous districts. Videos later posted by some of the students showed them removing the ill-gotten goods from their backpacks, bragging about the “devious licks,” or thefts, they were able to get away with.

Other times, the students are simply destroying school property, an act also attributed to the trend by educators in some districts.

“We’ve seen students ripping soap dispensers off of the walls and throwing them across the bathroom,” Ben Fobert, the principal of Mountain House High School in Mountain House, California, said in a statement provided to KTXL. “We’ve also seen paper towel dispensers completely ripped off of the walls. Students have ripped off the dividers between urinals in the boy’s bathrooms.”

In addition to warning students against such behavior, some schools, like Cram Middle School in North Las Vegas, have had to send letters to parents or otherwise notify the community after connecting a spate of stolen items and vandalism to the social-media trend.

“Please, check your child’s cell phone. Check their social media accounts. See what they’re doing,” Cram Middle School’s principal, Gary Bugash, told KLAS. “That will help us here in our education system.”

TikTok confirmed Wednesday that it was in the process of removing videos connected to the “devious licks” trend, which are in violation of the platform’s community guidelines.  

“We expect our community to create responsibly – online and [in real life],” the company wrote on Twitter. “We’re removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools & teachers.”

As of Thursday morning, however, TikTok has not been able to scrub all videos pertaining to the trend, as some users began using similar but slightly different hashtags to continue sharing the clips.

TikTok’s efforts to remove the “devious” videos come shortly after the platform announced that it was banning videos related to the “milk crate challenge,” which tasked social-media users with ascending and descending an unsecured makeshift staircase made from milk crates. The trend soon prompted warnings from doctors, police, and even whole municipal health departments, one of which warned participants to “check with your local hospital to see if they have a bed available for you” before attempting the dangerous stunt.

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