By Natalie Mack, News Editor
The popular app Tik Tok, a video-sharing social media platform that allows anyone to upload a 15 second to 3 minute video to be viewed by others, has been a topic of conversation for both teenagers and headline news. Peaking during the pandemic, as everyone was stuck in their houses, this app has produced many different trends including dance routines, gym inspiration videos, food recipes, and so much more.
Recently, however, a more insidious trend called “devious licks” has been sweeping the world, mostly in schools. By definition, devious licks is a slang term for “…using illegal or frowned upon methods for personal gain…” (wavy.com) In this case, the personal gain is internet clout. In the past few months, these short videos with the same song show students opening up their backpacks, cars, and other hiding places to find school items such as microscopes, books, soap dispensers, and various other products that they lifted from their school campuses. Additionally, there have been some virtual uploads of students ripping whole sinks and toilets out of the walls.
As the second week of classes rolled around at Nantucket High School, the devious licks trend did too, as well as other acts of vandalism that didn’t involve theft. Incidents have included red dye being sprayed all over urinals and toilets in one of the NHS boys’ bathrooms, and soap dispensers being broken down with the soap squirted all over the floor and a soap container placed in the toilet.
An anonymous student at Nantucket High School mentioned that he walked into the bathroom and saw “…a hand sanitizer dispenser laid across the top of the stalls.” This specific incident occurred in the boys bathroom at NHS.
Facilities and grounds manager for Nantucket Public Schools, Diane O’Neil, added that, “…after that, we had several incidents at NHS, Cyrus Peirce Middle School, as well as Nantucket Intermediate School…we had red dye sprayed on a playground structure at NIS.”
At NHS and CPS, two faucets torn from the sinks had to be replaced, and dozens of paper towel dispensers were destroyed as well as 25 soap dispensers. These incidents took place at three out of the four public schools on Nantucket island. It is suspected there were no incidents at Nantucket Elementary School as most of the students would not have access to the Tik Tok app, which means they wouldn’t have caught wind of the devious lick challenge. School resource officer Cassie Thompson filed at least five police reports in regards to the vandalism.
The damage that students did was significant. The repairs that had to be made were costly, and it took custodial staff a long time to repair and replace the damaged property. O’Neil expressed that, “…it makes me sad to think our own students would destroy their own school. Our staff works very hard keeping our school buildings and our campus as pristine as possible. Students who attend Nantucket Publics Schools often chant ‘Whaler Pride’. You can’t boast having whaler pride or pride in your school and destroy your school at the same time.”
Once the school administration caught word of what was going on, they closed all the restrooms for student use except the ones located directly next to the front office. In addition, a new system was put in place to provide more supervision. Students were required to sign out of their classroom, take a pass, sign in with a designated school staff member, and wait outside the bathrooms. Once you signed in with the staff member, you were allowed to use the restroom. Once you were done, you had to sign out, return to your class, and sign back in. CPS followed suit, restricting their bathroom usage starting on the 30th of September.
As of Monday, September 28th, all bathrooms at Nantucket High School are fully opened for use. This is after one full week of using the bathroom system. With the bathroom re-opened, there have been no new incidents thus far.
O’Neil commented that the administration’s hopes and expectations for the future are students taking responsibility for their own actions, as well as reporting any vandalism or destructive acts that they see: “Going forward, I would like to see students speak up or tell someone of authority if they see something like this, or take on a leadership role and stop this kind of thing when they see it happening.”
The Tik Tok challenge has died down these past couple weeks as most school administrators around the world discovered what was going on. With Nantucket Public Schools’ proactive approach to combat the vandalism, it is suspected students will no longer participate in any more devious licks challenges.
If you have any information regarding any of the information discussed in this article, please reach out to a Nantucket High School administrator.