TURLOCK, Calif. — A Turlock school district is looking to crack down on a TikTok challenge that they say can result in stolen or destroyed school property.
Turlock Unified School District put students on notice about the "devious lick" challenge on TikTok. Officials said the trend generally sees students stealing from schools, destroying school property and sharing videos of the items online.
Ultimately our facilities are built and maintained to facilitate the education of our students," said Marie Russell, spokesperson for Turlock Unified. "Actions such as these hurt our students and cost our tax payers money in unnecessary repairs."
Turlock Unified said the district would take disciplinary action, refer cases to Turlock Police Department, remove student privileges and seek reimbursement for the stolen or damaged items from the student or their family if a student is caught stealing or damaging school property. The district is also increasing surveillance of campuses and reviewing camera footage.
"Please speak with your student about the serious consequences of participating in this trend, or participating in any other activity that involves theft or damaging school property," Turlock Unified said in a statement posted to Facebook. "We also encourage monitoring of students’ social media activity, as these types of challenges tend to involve risky behaviors of which students do not typically realize the serious consequences of or threat to the safety of our schools and community until it’s too late."
Russell said the many facilities including some that were most recently built and renovated facilities were damaged. She said some facilities had to be taken offline for several days.
In Placer County, Placer High School closed three campus bathrooms due to vandalism. Principal Randy Ittner said they were closed due to safety issues.
He told ABC10 that there was soap all over the bathrooms, a damaged and leaking sink and items stuffed into toilet bowls. He added that students have been reporting anonymously on the Stop It app that the actions were connected to the TikTok challenge.
Elk Grove Unified School District also warned parents about the challenge, noting that it results in unplanned expenses for the schools and could lead to possible suspension or legal consequences.
Mountain House High School in San Joaquin County is just one school to have reported damages in the thousands of dollars following the hype of the challenge. The school's Principal Ben Fobert told ABC10 that soap dispensers, urinals and paper towel dispensers have been destroyed. Locks to bathroom stalls have been removed among other damages.
"While we were able to catch several culprits on our campus, we are still vigilant in trying to prevent future incidents from happening," Fobert wrote in a statement. "We are looking to help those who participate in this type of behavior understand the impact their behavior has on the physical operation of campus, and the negative impact it has on school culture."
Fobert added that they have asked students to lead by example and combat the trend. The school has also sent out a message to parents asking for their help to talk to their students about the challenge and the destruction it has on the school.
TikTok recently took action on the "devious lick" challenge by removing content and redirecting the search results to their community guidelines.
(Editor's Note: This article is being updated with new information from schools)