A viral video trend on the social media app TikTok has made its way to the metro area, and this trend has nothing to do with a catchy dance or goofy prank. Tens of thousands of videos have been posted in recent weeks with hashtags such as #deviouslicks and #diabolicallicks, showing serious acts of vandalism to school and park restrooms, teachers’ desks, school lockers, and other school facilities.
Metro area districts have experienced similar acts of vandalism and are taking a variety of measures, including removing access to most restrooms in schools, in an effort to stop the damage. According to Deputy Superintendent, Student and Community Services, Dr. Brad Welle, Grain Valley Schools have not been immune to the issue.
“We are experiencing a significant increase in vandalism this fall, especially in our school restrooms. This is happening at every level - elementary, middle school, and high school. (The TikTok challenge) appears to be the driving reason behind this behavior. We are repairing toilets and stalls, and are having to replace soap and towel dispensers. It is getting expensive,” Welle said.
“There are consequences, including paying for damages, for anyone determined to have vandalized or stolen school property,” Welle said.
Wednesday evening, Grain Valley High School principal Dr. Jeremy Plowman sent an email to students and parents, asking for cooperation in discouraging and reporting these acts.
"Over the past two weeks, we have had multiple instances of stolen or damaged bathroom items, food stuffed down toilets, defacing of stalls, mirrors, etc. While we have encountered vandalism in our bathrooms in the past, it has become a daily occurrence at the high school. We have zero tolerance for this. Those that are caught committing vandalism or theft will receive school discipline and will have to reimburse the school for damages or theft. The disrespect these acts show our hard-working and short-staffed custodians and the stellar students and staff in this building does not sit well with me," Plowman said.
Oak Grove Parks and Recreation recently posted a photo of damage to a park restroom on their Facebook page, asking anyone with information on the vandalism to contact the parks department or police department with tips.
Shannon Davies, Grain Valley Parks and Recreation Director, said Grain Valley park facilities have been spared so far, but his crews and the police department have been vigilant in keeping an eye out for potential problems.
“This recent Tik Tok trend has area park departments on notice. Several have closed their park restrooms in response to this. We have kept our restrooms open. Within the past couple of weeks, we have had no vandalism in our parks that would relate to this. Park Maintenance is making routine checks at our restrooms and any other park related amenities several times a day to try and stay ahead of this. If we do start seeing this vandalism, we will entertain the idea of restroom closures. GVPD is also aware and keeping an eye out for us,” Davies said.