After a challenging school year characterized by uncertainty, interruptions and, for some, extended periods of remote learning, welcoming students back to school campuses and keeping them safe from COVID-19 has been a priority for educators.
While many students were happy to return to campus and see their friends, some chose to take part in a viral and destructive TikTok trend called “devious licks” that encourages them to vandalize and steal school property, which has limited students’ access to sanitation and hygiene products at a time when they’re more important than ever.
TikTok is making an effort to remove the videos, but the damage has already been done. Videos show clogged toilets, broken mirrors and defaced toilet paper, soap and paper towel dispensers, among other destruction kids have undertaken with the goal of getting views on the social media platform.
Educators and students should be able to focus on teaching and learning, without having to worry about access to working and fully stocked bathrooms. That’s why dispensing system manufacturer GP PRO (a division of Georgia-Pacific) said it would provide free replacements of schools’ paper towel, toilet paper and soap dispensers that were stolen or destroyed during the devious licks challenge.
“Schools across the country have been through so much over the past 18 months and are doing all they can to provide a safe and healthy learning environment now that students and staff are back to in-person learning,” said Julie Howard, vice president and general manager of GP PRO’s towel, skin care and air freshener products. “This defacing of school property, particularly property that is so important to health and hygiene, is just really the last thing they need to be dealing with.”
A search for “devious licks” no longer shows the vandalism videos, and instead redirects to TikTok’s community guidelines. Some students have also taken to the platform to share measures their schools are taking to stop the trend, from issuing warnings over the intercom to securing soap dispensers to bathroom walls.
TikTok said in a statement that it expects its users to “create responsibly” both online and in real life, and urged students to “be kind” to their schools and teachers.
Schools that have been hit by the “devious licks” trend can contact GP PRO now through September 30, 2021, to arrange for no-cost replacements for paper towel, toilet tissue and soap dispensers. Claims can be made by calling 866-435-5647 or by filling out an online form. Full terms of the offer are available here.