“Devious Licks” Is the Newest TikTok Prank Troubling DC-Space Colleges
Students damage school toilets for TikTok videos in the latest social media trend. Photo by Flickr user Al.
Toilets torn from school walls. Soap dispenser thrown in the dresser. School supplies fell into oblivion. It’s the latest TikTok trend with a dark side that coincides with an unprecedented back to school season. The social media challenge known as “Sneaky Leaks” is about destroying school property and posting the gadgets on the video app – and students in schools in the DC area are taking part.
Middle and senior school principals have been sending messages to families for the past two weeks warning of the ongoing TikTok trend, noting that “sneaky leaks” have occurred on the school premises. North Stafford High School principal Daniel Hornick sent a letter to families last week describing the increase in incidents, reports Inside NoVa.
“The vandalism has mainly occurred in student toilets throughout the building and is causing significant disruption and damage to school property,” wrote Hornick. “In the meantime, teachers and students have notified administration and school security of various items that have unexpectedly disappeared.”
Soap dispensers in particular have been a target of calamity and are an alarming health problem given the ongoing pandemic. Forget saying the alphabet or singing Happy Birthday twice: without soap, hand washing has become a handwringer for administrators. Headmaster Darwin Barker of Sandburg Middle School in Fairfax County lamented this particular concern in an email to families last week.
“We are particularly concerned that soap dispensers are being taken out of our toilets, which is a challenge in maintaining a healthy and safe school environment,” wrote Barker. “In response, we check the toilets all day and use our indoor cameras to monitor who is going in and out.”
Alternatives to Washington’s soapy hands are available in schools, but they don’t offer the same level of sanitation. When asked about an alleged lack of soap at Alexandria City High School, Claire Going, media specialist for Alexandria City Public Schools, wrote in an email to Washingtonian: “With the cleaning protocols now being improved, many hand sanitizing stations are always accessible to students.”
Although the toilet larks are the work of a fraction of the students, the consequences can be felt across campus. “Devil licking” incidents at Takoma Park Middle School resulted in the school locking toilets during the transition between classes, reports the New York Times. In Chantilly, Rocky Run Middle School headmistress Amy Goodloe sent a message to parents warning that the toilet could be closed in the future if the behavior continues.
Personal effects were also used. A Stafford High School student faces criminal charges after being seen tearing down the soap dispenser in neighboring Chichester Park while at school.
The high school high jinks even made it into the convention halls, where Senator Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on Monday urging the app to take action to delete videos and ban them Users to seize. TikTok effectively locked the challenge last week, and searches for “sneaky lick” are not returning any videos. Instead, potential viewers will find ominous news: “This phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines. Promoting a safe and positive experience is a top priority at TikTok. ”Right now, the app seems to be trying to flush this particular trend down the toilet.
Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism and digital culture.