WAUKESHA — Students have taken a viral TikTok challenge to a criminal level. They are uploading videos of themselves damaging school property or stealing items altogether.
Friday night football turned into a headache when families at Cedarburg High School tried to use the restroom.
“I got a message from the custodian that the soap bags are missing and they’re shoved in the toilets," said Casey Ward, Cedarburg's School Resource Officer.
Officer Ward says it is all part of the viral TikTok trend called ‘Devious Licks.’
“You see them entering the women’s bathroom coming out chuckling, you see them entering the men's bathroom coming out chuckling,” said Ward.
Officer Ward says about eight students were involved. All of them are middle schoolers.
“We’re in the process of figuring out what we're going to do with speaking to them and getting parents involved," said Ward.
They could face serious consequences, Ward says, "which can lead to kids needing to pay restitution. So the price of the damages. They could have to do community service time if they’re not able to pay for it this. It could go on your record.”
We reached out to TikTok, asking how they plan to deal with this illegal trend, and we have not heard back. If you search the hashtag causing this havoc, it is now blocked on the platform.
“The best they can do is have their team on it, to remove the hashtags that come in with things, to not have kids get the face time or whatever they get out of this," said Ward.
Over in Waukesha, Captain Dan Baumann says several middle and high schoolers have been caught videotaping themselves ripping out towel dispensers, toilets and doors to stalls.
“It’s very stupid, it's ignorant and it's unwanted - it's unnecessary. Ultimately this comes down to the taxpayers having to pay the bill on this,” said Captain Baumann.
Both the Waukesha and Cedarburg school resource officers plan to work with district leaders to put an end to this.
“We’re going to discuss that if we should blast out and email sometime today or later on this week,” Officer Ward.
“Parents, this is a great opportunity for you to be that mom or that dad and to talk to your kids,” said Captain Baumann.
TMJ4 News knows of at least five school districts reporting damage from this viral trend. School resource officers are working with district leaders to seek disciplinary action.
Wauwatosa School District Superintendent Dr. Demond Means also announced Tuesday they are dealing with similar problems - including incidents involving violence towards other students. Means released the following statement:
"In the Wauwatosa School District, we understand that social media is a popular way for our students to stay connected and exercise self-expression. When used safely and responsibly, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram and other platforms can be safe and fun creative outlets. However, social media is also a source of viral “challenges,” in which users share videos of themselves performing sometimes dangerous, disruptive or harmful pranks or stunts. Oftentimes, these challenges involve behavior that is inappropriate, particularly within a school setting. Social media trends are often replicated across the country, and unfortunately, we are currently experiencing a negative social media trend in our school buildings.
One current trend is for students to take to Tik Tok and record themselves destroying school property. Another involves singing inappropriate songs. And yet a third encourages students to slap one another on the head or neck. Needless to say, vandalism, theft, destruction of property, vulgar language, physical violence and other inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated in our schools. I am reaching out to our families and students to assist us as active partners in curbing this disturbing social media trend within the Wauwatosa School Community.
To date, building principals have addressed these incidents with students directly, and they are pleased with the number of responsible students who have stepped up and called out those involved. Moving forward, we will continue to investigate any incidents of this nature and will work with our Student Services and Buildings and Grounds Departments to identify appropriate disciplinary and restorative measures - including paying for repairs and/or replacement of school property.
Please direct any questions or concerns to your building principal or school counselor. As always, your support is greatly appreciated."