Vandalism for Clout: The “Devious Lick” Dilemma

A new Tik Tok trend has caused a severe spike in the amount of vandalism at schools, and janitors are paying for it

Vandalism for Clout: The “Devious Lick” Dilemma

Lucas Clark, Staff Writer

Gum scraping has evolved to the daily replacement of soap dispensers and stall doors in high schools for janitors. Over 92,000 videos under the hashtag Devious Lick have been posted on Tik Tok in just a month, spreading the word to other social media platforms. The trend soars to new extremes every day with its simple concept: steal things from your school. Schools started with missing soap dispensers and have advanced to the severity of whole rows of lockers, printers and doors to classrooms and bathrooms.

All the laughs are at the expense of janitors, teachers and even students. Janitor of Summit High School Kate Duncan, who won the district employee of the year award, gets the other end of the whip every day. Between the plight of staff and the physical health of students, Devious Licks are a growing issue. The combination of the labor shortage and unwarranted teen cruelty is creating a problem that is going unseen by the student body.

Teachers offer a distinct perspective on the trend. “It’s absolutely disgusting,” says Spanish teacher Jylan Maloy. On the contrary, students have found the trend amusing. “It’s really funny,” said a Sophomore who wishes to remain anonymous, “I think the big things are hilarious, but the necessities being stolen gets old quick.”

Summit High School is lucky to have Duncan as a part of the janitor staff not only as someone who is great at their job but also loves to be there. Unfortunately due to the labor shortage, she is the only day janitor and is required to work long hours. She arrives at work at 5:30 in the morning and on a normal day doesn’t leave till around 3 pm. Dealing with vandalism on top of her already long days, her hours can be stretched greatly. 

“I would say on a daily basis this year I spend between two and three extra hours dealing with this kind of thing,” Duncan said.

Summit students have made their own inhumane touch as well. Three weeks ago, a group of male students released an orchestra of crickets into the upper C hall bathroom, leaving them for Duncan to clean up. Other students have found inspiration from this as well resulting in a small spike in graffiti in the boy’s bathrooms. The school has combated this by threatening community service in an attempt to deter people from this sort of act, but no response seems to be enough.

Administrations are at a loss of how to respond to something that seems to be inevitable. 

“The best we can do is try to go back and look at cameras before things get stolen to see who went into the bathroom,” said Summit principal Michael McDonald. 

Other schools such as Pacific Crest Middle School have been dealing with the issue as well, facing struggles like the theft of a stall door. Principal Ryan Kelling declined to speak on the topic, fearing that it will shine light on the problem and in turn make it worse. 

From overworked janitors to frustrated teachers there seems to be no solution. Whether it’s The Devious Licks or just vandalism in general administrations are at a loss.

 “There’s really nothing we can do.” Principal McDonald said. It’s up to students to open their eyes to the repercussions of their actions.