WINCHESTER — School bathrooms around the country are being vandalized because of a viral TikTok challenge encouraging teens to do so.
Local school bathrooms have not been immune, according to area school officials.
The “Devious Licks” TikTok challenge has resulted in damage to middle and high school bathrooms in the Winchester, Frederick County and Clarke County public school divisions.
As part of the challenge, students film themselves on the video app TikTok stealing and vandalizing items in public, particularly in schools, with a sped-up version of “Ski Ski BasedGod” by rapper Lil’ B playing in the background.
Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Chuck Bishop said soap dispensers in Clarke County High School and Johnson-Williams Middle School have been removed or vandalized by students recently.
“It is incredibly frustrating to deal with this considering one of our mitigation strategies amid the pandemic focuses on hand hygiene,” Bishop said. “It is difficult for students to focus on proper handwashing when soap dispensers have been damaged or removed by their peers.”
As of Wednesday, Bishop said no CCPS students have been criminally charged for the damages, but charges could be filed when the division identifies those responsible.
He added that the division has increased supervision around school bathroom areas, but that still doesn’t fully address the problem because some students leave during class to use the restroom.
“Our staff cannot monitor the restrooms every minute of the school day,” Bishop said.
But the division can utilize its video surveillance systems in the hallways of each building to help narrow down the incident to a specific time of the day, he said.
Steve Edwards, Frederick County Public Schools director of policy and communications, said there have also been missing soap dispensers, broken towel dispensers and some graffiti in bathrooms in the division’s middle and high schools.
“To help address the situation, guiding conversations are occurring with students and restrooms are being monitored more closely,” Edwards said. “Those students who have been involved in theft and/or vandalism have been issued school discipline.”
School Resource Officers are aware of the situation, but they have not been involved from a law enforcement perspective and they have not charged any students, Edwards added.
Winchester Public Schools Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum said the division has experienced a few bathroom vandalism incidents at Handley High School and Daniel Morgan Middle School.
“Our administrators are responding with appropriate consequences and proactive messaging to students to curb this behavior immediately,” Van Heukelum said.
Last week, TikTok announced it would remove videos associated with the destructive trend, but other related hashtags for the video are still up on the app, sometimes under alternate spellings or slightly reworded versions of the “Devious Licks” hashtag.