TikTok’s ‘devious licks’ trend encourages crime in high schools


Photo by Danielle Stein


Devious licks – a recent TikTok trend that has skyrocketed in popularity within the past few weeks – has been inciting chaos in schools. The infamous trend encourages students to commit “licks”, otherwise known as theft. Students then record themselves as they either steal or savagely damage school property, which they publicly post, consequently exposing their identity and crime at once. This has resulted in the disappearance of items such as soap dispensers, mirrors, lockers, televisions, expensive computer equipment, and even toilets. Unquestionably a costly trend, school officials are determined to bring this troubling matter to an end.

This trend originated from a TikTok user known as “jugg4elias”, who uploaded a video of himself holding a box of masks that he had supposedly stolen from school. The caption read “a month into school… devious lick”, which then led to an uproar of students following suit with similar crimes. Hoping for the trend to stop, multiple arrests transpired in attempts of discouraging more kids from joining in on the mayhem. Three minors located in Polk County Florida who participated in the trend were recently arrested for their offenses. Their misconduct was related to a stolen soap dispenser and damaged sink, and they will be faced with criminal charges. Oviedo High School has been similarly impacted by these licks, though not to as grave of an extent.

A counter-trend known as “angelic yields” has also been circulating. Unlike devious licks, this new trend has had a seemingly positive impact. It involves students donating, replacing, or returning previously stolen objects. Although not as popular as the original trend, it’s certainly less disruptive. It’s been overall considered a productive change in comparison to its counterpart. After collectively garnering over 235 million views, TikTok banned the “devious” hashtag and others alike as an attempt to end the harmful trend. Users now misspell the phrase under similar tags and continue to post their crimes, although the injustice has heavily died down. 

Paranoid about more crimes taking place, teachers and staff alike are incessantly interrogating students. Students are stopped and questioned in the halls for merely walking by. They’re hesitant to even let us use the bathrooms. Custodial staff have also been burdened with cleaning up continuous vandalism, as well as school security being forced to constantly have their eyes open for the next lick to come. It’s simultaneously unfair to students, staff, and teachers. It’s almost also comical how such a worldwide disturbance all stems back to one unknowing TikTok user – the source of all this havoc.

For rebellious students, devious licks may seem fun or like an easy gateway to gain popularity, but the matter is much more serious than it may first appear. Having criminal charges on your permanent record pre-graduation could easily tamper with college acceptance and future career opportunities. The lingering boredom that remains from a semi post-COVID society is one component worth considering when it comes to the root of this conundrum. Regardless of how tempting it might be in the moment, lifelong legal consequences are not worth it. The endless hours custodial staff spend mopping the dirty toilet water covered bathroom floors, scrubbing away inappropriate phrases scribbled in sharpie, and reinstalling stolen items due to a meaningless TikTok trend, are not worth it. The imposed stress forced upon teachers and the eternal questioning of innocent students is not worth it. Not in the slightest.