By Camille Cox | Staff Writer
Social media creates, destroys and perpetuates trends each year. From Tide Pods to Rick and Morty dancing, the media — specifically the TikTok platform — has the power to influence thousands of individuals to participate in challenges, regardless of how dangerous they may be. The “Devious Lick” has taken the spot as the new trend for students on TikTok.
Jeff Foley, Hewitt Police Department officer and the school resource officer at Midway High School, said the trend started out with simple theft and vandalism at his school.
“Kids were going into the bathrooms at school and ripping soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers off the wall,” Foley said. “The whole point of it was to see what they could steal and what was the most outlandish thing they could steal.”
After stealing or vandalizing property from the school, students would upload a video to TikTok, hoping to gain followers and “clout” from the criminal act.
“I think that it is 100% for follows and likes on social media,” Foley said. “It’s all about popularity and clout, and if you can get the most likes and follows, then you’re the best.”
According to USA Today, TikTok is removing all content related to “Devious Licks,” but users have created a new hashtag — #dispicablelicks — to go around this.
Cierra Shipley, public information officer for the Waco Police Department, said she encourages community members to not partake in the criminal trend.
“No matter the likes, follows or laughs you get, no crime is worth committing for 10,000 likes on TikTok,” Shipley said.
The Waco Independent School District Police Department released a statement on Facebook addressing the trend, urging students and parents to take responsibility and not participate.
“Students, make no mistake, if you participate in this challenge and destroy any Waco ISD property, you will be held accountable,” the statement said. “If you want a challenge, I challenge each of you to do the right thing.”
While the stealing trend largely took place in September, a new trend has emerged for the month of October: slap a teacher. The Washington Post reported that schools across the nation have begun to see students slapping teachers as a result of the crazed media trend. According to the Post, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the FBI to address the spiked harassment against educators.
While high schools and middle schools across the nation battle violent and criminal trends in the classrooms, Foley said he doesn’t believe they will enter institutions of higher education.
“There is a maturity level that affects all of that, and when you get to the university level or community college level, a lot of the kids got other things to focus on than ‘Devious Licks’ and things like that,” Foley said.