Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

October 12, 2021
TikTok challenge damages to schools exceeds $5,000

TikTok challenge damages to schools exceeds $5,000 

TikTok challenges have cost the Tooele County School District at least $5,000, with damage and theft reports still coming in, according to school district officials.

TikTok is a social media app used to create and share short,  usually 15 second, videos. The videos range from dance moves to arrangements of large amounts of gummy bears. A trend on TikTok has been for users to make a video of them doing something and challenge other users to do the same thing and post a video.

Some TokTok challenges aren’t harmless. A reported list of TikTok challenges for the school year has been circulating through social media platforms with the first on the list being vandalize school restrooms or “devious licks” with “licks” referring to theft.

The devious licks challenge has been linked with vandalism and thefts in schools across the country in September, including here in Tooele County, according to Ian Silva, Tooele County School District operations director.

“As of today [Monday] we have had reports of $5,000 in damage and reports are still coming in,” Silva said.

The biggest target has been the theft or removal of soap, hand towel, and toilet paper dispensers from restrooms, he said.

Other damages or missing items have included a restroom mirror that was located and reinstalled, damage to restroom partitions including door hinges that needed to be replaced, according to Silva.

Silva described one of the restrooms at the Tooele High School football field as “totally destroyed.”

In most cases the dispensers weren’t just ripped out of the wall, but carefully removed, Silva said. 

The expense of new dispensers and time to replace them adds up, he added.

Some of the students have been caught and have returned what was taken and/or paid for their theft or damages, according to Silva.

“If we find the students that are responsible they are held financially accountable for what they did,” he said.

The September “devious licks” challenge is over, but the reported list of challenges goes on until July. 

The October challenge is reported to slap a teacher or smack a staff member.

In a recent message to parents about TikTok challenges the school district wrote; “A list of future challenges planned throughout the remainder of the school year has been circulated on different social media platforms. Some of the future challenges promote physical violence against educators and school staff, more damage and even physical and sexual assault.”

The school district warns that consequences of TikTok challenges can result not only in school penalties, but also in criminal charges for the person completing the challenge and anyone recording the challenge.

A list of reported school TikTok challenges posted by the school district include; September – Devious Lick Challenge/Vandalize school bathrooms, October – Slap/smack a staff member, November – Kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school, December – Deck the halls and show your balls, January – Jab a breast, February – Destroy school signs, March – Make a mess in the cafeteria or courtyard, April – “Grab some eggz,” (another stealing challenge), May – Skip school/Ditch day, June – Flip off in the front office and July – Spray a neighbor’s fence.

The school district has asked parents to talk with their children about the serious nature of these challenges. Students are encouraged to talk to an adult if they hear or see anything related to these challenges.

“We need your help in reminding students to respect their school, their teachers, and all staff members and classmates.,” said the school district in a Facebook post about TikTok challenges.

 

Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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