'Devious lick' vandalism pranks rampant at metro Atlanta schools
NEWNAN, Ga. - Two middle schoolers at Evans Middle School were arrested for allegedly busting up a school bathroom and posting it to social media. It’s part of a destructive trend, police and school administrators said.
The two kids allegedly ripped off a bathroom soap dispenser and clogged the toilet as part of what TikTok users call the "devious lick challenge."
Later, a school staffer found the soap dispenser in one of the student's backpacks, the Newnan Times-Herald first reported.
A student at Evans Middle School in Coweta County faces felony charges for an act of vandalism related to a new TikTok trend. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
"The challenge delivered on social media encourages students to steal property from their school or damage property from their schools, typically bathrooms," Dean Jackson, spokesperson for Coweta County Schools, told FOX 5. "It sounds odd to a number of people, it sounded odd to me too. We had never experienced it before."
Jackson said every single high school and middle school in Coweta County has been hit.
The challenge has become an issue in schools in several schools throughout the Atlanta area, and throughout the country.
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"We began hearing reports of other school systems in metro Atlanta but all over the nation of that happening, and really just as suddenly we found that happening in our middle and high schools as well."
In Gwinnett County, school staffers are now doing regular "restroom checks" throughout the day and are closely watching security camera footage, a spokesperson for the district told FOX 5.
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After the latest incident at Twin Forks Middle School, the principal sent a letter home to parents.
"There is a cost associated with this and it puts an additional strain on our resources," the letter reads. "The custodians are bearing the brunt of it as they must clean up the messes. It has also impacted our leadership team members as we must now watch cameras and investigate every incident. This takes up valuable time."
The principal’s letter also promised swift punishment for students caught taking part in the challenge.
Following the incident in Coweta County, one of the two students allegedly caught faces a felony charge.
"Soap dispensers or desks or windows or anything like that or government property," said Lt. Greg VanSant, a school resource officer with the Newnan Police Department. "Any defacing or vandalizing of that property is a felony."
Jackson, the district spokesperson, said the students have been quite easy to catch since they film themselves in the act and post it on social media for the world to see.
"The students are doing what the challenge ask them, which is that they take them home and put the stolen property on [social media]," Jackson said. "It’s fairly easy to find them at that point."
TikTok has banned the videos from its app, saying that they go against the community guidelines. However, students are finding their way around the ban by purposely misspelling the hashtag.
Lt. VanSant warned students that the stupid prank could result in some serious consequences.
"Don’t do something like this," he said. "It can really affect your future."
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