A new trend has taken the internet by storm. After emerging on the app TikTok, acts of vandalism known as “Devious Licks” targeted numerous schools across the country, including our own high school.
“Devious Licks” consists of going through a school and vandalizing school property. This vandalism ranges from writing on the bathroom walls in fake blood made of Kool-Aid, to ripping off soap dispensers and throwing them in urinals. While only on the internet, these acts of destruction seemed a world away, but after becoming popular in our own hawk country, these crimes hit a lot closer to home.
After witnessing this behavior around the school, many teachers, students, and faculty members have opinions on the matter. Mrs. Pallo, Eastern’s principal, was appalled when she learned about the thoughtless acts of some students. “I think so highly of our student body and that our kids are awesome,” she began. “We have a lot of pride and respect here.” Because Mrs. Pallo has been so proud of the students throughout this year, she was especially shocked by the destructive behavior. “That’s what probably took me by surprise the most,” she admitted.
“I get that it’s a TikTok thing, and that’s where it’s coming from; it’s not like someone just walked into the school and decided to destroy the bathroom one day. But I think [we’ve got to] be better than that. This [school] is what we’ve got, and we’ve got to take care of it.”
Aside from her disappointment with the destruction of numerous bathrooms throughout the school, Mrs. Pallo also expressed concern for the legal consequences that students will face. Some students fail to realize that for a few moments of fame on social media they receive a black mark on their record for life. “If you get caught damaging or stealing, we get Deputy Green involved,” Mrs. Pallo explained, “so there are also consequences from a legal aspect.”
“It’s a really big deal,” she continued. “That’s what people need to understand. It might get you some laughs or likes on TikTok for five minutes, but this could go in a very bad way.” Students may find this type of behavior funny at the time, but people caught committing these acts of stealing and vandalism can be charged and arrested or fined.
Following the destruction of the boys’ bathrooms, the doors have been removed from both the boys’ and girls’ restrooms. This action confused many students, as the vandalism was only reported with the boys, yet the girls were being reprimanded for it. “There is a law called Title 9,” Mrs. Pallo clarified. “Everything you do for one gender, you do for the other. And so, just in fairness to that, we felt like we were obligated to take them off the girls’ [bathrooms]. It broke our hearts [because] the girls’ bathrooms haven’t had any issues, but that [law] requires us to be consistent between both genders.” Although the doors will remain off for now, Mrs. Pallo, along with many students and staff members, are hopeful that the doors will be replaced soon if good behavior is continued throughout the school.
Few problems emerge at Eastern, but the few that develop do not represent our school. Hawks are full of pride for their school, and this behavior of participating in the “Devious Licks” trend does not reflect our student body. “I think [that] we have the best kids on the planet, and even the kids that were involved in [the vandalism] make mistakes.” Mrs. Pallo insisted. “I was really proud of the [number] of kids that [spoke up] with what they saw.”
As the vandalism issue is discussed more in classes, the problem has decreased. We are better than this trend that social media influences people to participate in. If anyone has any information about the “Devious Licks,” please reach out to a teacher or other staff member. Let’s raise awareness of the problem and flush it out of our Eastern campus.