“Devious Licks” TikTok Challenge Sparks School Vandalism in Coral Springs  

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By Kevin Deutsch

A nationwide TikTok trend encouraging students to steal from schools and damage bathrooms led to an instance of vandalism at Renaissance Charter School at Coral Springs Friday, school administrators said.

Known as “Devious Licks,” the video-sharing trend has impacted schools from coast to coast, spurring damage to scores of bathrooms and particularly soap dispensers at a time when they are needed to fight COVID-19.

“Just today, we had a situation in our bathrooms of damaging property,” Renaissance Charter said in a Friday Facebook post, which included a note from Principal Lynette Self warning parents of the viral trend. “This will not be tolerated, nor is it acceptable.”

The damage at Renaissance Charter follows an Aug. 25 incident of criminal mischief at Eagle Ridge Elementary in Coral Springs, where two students damaged the boys restroom in Building 1, police said.

According to a Coral Springs Police incident report, the students “removed the door handle from the inside of the bathroom and together they destroyed the soap dispensers and flushed multiple items down the toilet which caused it to flood the bathroom.”

The estimated cost of the damage was under $100, and prosecution of the students was waived, the report states.

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In another bathroom vandalism incident, graffiti was written on the women’s bathroom, and batteries were stolen from the bathroom soap dispensers at Tamarac Sports Complex, 9901 NW 77th St., on Sept. 7, according to Broward Sheriff’s Office records.

Authorities did not allude to the TikTok challenge in their narratives of the incidents.

After the vandalism at Renaissance Charter School, Principal Lynette Self said in her message to parents that the TikTok trend has “resulted in students making very bad choices all in the name of a challenge.”

“Please take some time to talk with your children today and explain that it is not a joke and will have real consequences up to and including arrest,” Self wrote. “We all know that TikTok targets young impressionable children who have no idea how serious their actions can be.”

Self added that “we must be vigilant as parents and school leaders to help our vulnerable students recognize the dangers in these types of activities.”

“You may get eye-rolls and frustrated sighs, but your voice must be heard. It’s not as much fun when they realize parents are on to these challenges.”

Amid the surge in school property thefts and vandalism, at least one student faces criminal charges. This week, police in Bartow, Fl. arrested a 15-year-old student accused of tearing out soap dispensers in a school bathroom.

He told authorities he carried out the vandalism to look “cool,” officials said.

TikTok has said it is removing content related to the challenge.

“We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities,” the social network said on Twitter.

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Author Profile

Kevin Deutsch

Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.

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