TikTok trend encouraging vandalism costs Valley schools around $20k in damages

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – A viral Tik Tok challenge encouraging vandalism is costing Central Valley schools thousands of dollars.

“You know some of the Tik Tok challenges are fun, these are not,” said Coalinga-Huron School District Superintendent Lori Villanueva. ” People might think they are having fun, but in reality, it has a lot of hidden costs.”

In just a three-day span, the Coalinga-Huron School District had to replace over 40 soap dispensers due to the social media trend “Devious Licks”.

A “lick” is where people deface or steal items from schools and then post them to social media.

“Specifically, soap dispensers, toilet paper dispensers, hygiene product dispensers being absolutely ripped off the wall,” said Villanueva. “All of the products being thrown into toilets being thrown around the bathroom.”

Villanueva said in under two weeks, the damage was equal to nearly $20,000. Some of that money went to pay for bus drivers to monitor the bathrooms.

Clinical Psychologist Allan Hedberg said with the evolution of technology, social media trends are becoming more common.

“We train kids young to do this,” said Hedberg. “So, they become very sophisticated in their technology skills. So, now what we have is kids doing things that we don’t want them to be doing. So, how do we pull it back? Put guidelines on? That is what the parents’ job is.”

The trend made its way across the entire Central Valley. Madera, Clovis, Fresno, and Tulare schools have sent notes to parents making them aware of the challenge and the consequences students face including suspension or charges with the local police departments.

“We want to send a super clear message that this has to stop,” said Villanueva.

Villanueva said if there was one positive thing to come out of this, it is that students banded together to make cards for the custodians and bus drivers who had to work overtime to clean up the mess.

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