TikTok trend encourages students to steal and damage school property

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A new social media trend encourages students to steal and even vandalize school property.

With the hashtag “devious licks”, students post videos showcasing what they stole. Since many area schools started less than a month ago, officials have reached out to parents and talked to students about putting the destructive trend to an end.

Students damaging or even stealing school property is not new. But with this latest social media trend, it’s become more prominent and destructive in local school districts.

”We’ve had some trouble with soap and toilet paper holders, paper towel holders, different things, and a variety of different supplies that have either been removed or taken off the walls,” Nick Proud, executive director of teaching and learning in the Iowa City Community School District, said.

Some schools in the Iowa City District had to eventually address the issue with increased supervision.

”Having supervision in the hallways, our teachers have been extra vigilant in helping supervise and just checking on our restrooms,” Proud said. “And actually our kids have done a nice job as well, because for many of our kids they don’t want to see things happening to our schools so they have been stepping up and trying to assist as well.”

Max Widitz and Eliott Lewis, two City High students, said they haven’t seen it happen at their school, but know it’s a problem at other schools in the area.

”I’ve heard a lot, like at Southeast Junior High there’s been a lot of stuff. I’ve heard that like in all the boys bathrooms there’s no soap,” Lewis said.

”To put it bluntly I think that it’s more of like an immature thing to do and there isn’t a lot of thinking ahead when you do that,” Widitz said. “I can definitely think back to when I was in middle school where I did a lot of dumb stuff like that.”

School leaders said it’s not a new concept, but that social media has somewhat glamorized the act.

”A lot of times stealing is just few and far between, it’s not something we’re dealing with on a daily basis, where this really had some momentum because of social media,” Proud said.

But since they’ve identified the schools where students are participating, they have been able to minimize and almost eliminate damage.

”I think at this point we feel really good at where we’re at and we’ll continue to work on it,” Proud said. “Hopefully our kids have recognized this isn’t an action we want to be participating in.”

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