The downside to “devious licks”


R. Ingle

A restroom in the math hallway is labeled closed to all students for use during class. Due to the vandalism occurring within the school in several bathrooms, administrators have only allowed students to use them during passing periods; however, during class, all but four restrooms throughout the school are locked.

Staff Reports

Due to the onset of a viral TikTok trend referred to as “devious licks,” a series of thefts and vandalism have taken place in restrooms and classes within the school.

“The whole situation has been pretty disappointing,” assistant principal Jake Short said. “It started out relatively small, students stealing soap dispensers, throwing paper towels against the walls. That’s pretty much students wanting to top other students or getting what they deserve on social media. We’ve been aware of it for a pretty long time.”

As circumstances continued to worsen, administrators developed new strategies to handle the destructive behavior.

“We had a meeting and decided we were going to close down some restrooms. At no point did we want no one to be able to use the restroom. We closed down some, but left restrooms open on each floor in what we would call a highly populated area, so that we wouldn’t leave a restroom open in the corner of a building,” Short said. “That was for one day: we kept one open upstairs, two on the main level, one by the cafeteria, one by the English hallway and the main restroom down in science. Today during passing periods we went and we staffed restrooms and we unlocked them during passing periods and supervised those, and at the end of passing period we relocked those.”

Along with bathroom utilities, the items that have been stolen include clocks, signs, shoes, fire alarms, smoke detectors and a body-length mirror. English teacher Beth Strodel had personal items taken from her room, as well.

“I had several personal items stolen, a picture of a family member, a plaque with my name on it from when I was a principal, several decorations in my classroom, a decoration from my wall and some candy, so I had nine things stolen,” Strodel said.

While the items themselves did not have much monetary value, Strodel held the items close to her heart.

“To have a picture of my child taken out of my classroom, to have things with my name taken –the reason why I use them to decorate was’t the financial part, it was the memories,” Strodel said. “I was in shock. They were stolen while I was burying my grandma. I was in shock, I couldn’t believe students would do that.”

The loss of these items have had an impact on Strodel’s feelings toward teaching.

“You want to trust students; I trust my students, I want them to trust me back,” Strodel said. “I respect my students. I want them to respect me. It’s so sad that things are being taken in the building.”

However, Strodel hopes that the thefts will not impact her future relationships with her students.

“I’ve shared my thoughts with them,” Strodel said. “I’ve shared my emotions. Do I still love my students? Of course. Is it going to change how I treat my students? No.”

Short has just one message to students.

“In one simple word: stop. When I was in the dean’s office, and I’m sure our deans are still saying it, we are going to catch people because, by the nature of it, they are doing it for attention. And to do it for attention, people have to know,” Short said. “Once people know, people continue to talk. And eventually it’s going to come back around, and people are going to figure out who it is.”