There's a new TikTok trend that has school officials sounding the alarm as students across the country are vandalizing their school bathrooms and posting about it on social media.
The new social media challenge encourages students to steal things like fire extinguishers or soap dispensers or vandalize school property.
The viral TikTok challenge is called the "Devious Licks" trend and is growing in popularity. According to Senator Richard Blumenthal, there have been over 94,000 of the viral videos done in the last couple months including some in Connecticut.
The Superintendent of the Consolidated School District of New Britain sent home a letter to parents about it.
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She's asking parents to speak with their children after they've seen students participate in the challenge at both the middle school and the high school.
It appears the trend has also been happening at Granby Memorial High School as well.
In a letter sent to parents on Friday, Granby Memorial High School Principal Mike Dunn said over recent days, there have been several incidents of vandalism in the boys' bathrooms, which require the bathrooms to be closed until repairs are made. He said the incidents may be in response to the Tik Tok trend.
"Not only are such destructive behaviors far beneath the expectations we hold for our students, they put others at risk, reflect pathetically mindless adherence to social media trends, and will be subject to significant consequences for students found to be responsible," Dunn said in the letter.
Blumenthal and the Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents Fran Rabinowitz called on TikTok to ban users who post these kinds of videos.
According to Blumenthal, these videos glorify theft and vandalism and it is a disservice to staff members and teachers who are working to educate students in the midst of a pandemic.
Blumenthal called on TikTok to re-examine glorifying destructive and/or deadly actions on the part of children and teens who are attracted to the site and asked that users who partake in these types of challenges be banned.
Rabinowitz added that the sooner these types of challenges are banned on TikTok, the better it will be for everyone, especially since there has been thousands of dollars worth of damage done in some of the bathrooms.
A spokesperson from TikTok shared the following statement:
"We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities. We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior."
Both Blumenthal and Rabinowitz said the students involved in the challenges will be found and will face disciplinary action. In some instances, the parents could be responsible for the damages.