COLUMBIA - A recent TikTok challenge is encouraging high school students to steal items from school bathrooms.
The challenge, known as a "devious lick," is happening across the country, where students are vandalizing bathrooms, stealing school property and creating havoc for school custodians.
Columbia Public Schools AVID, a college readiness program, explained in a tweet that the trend has been seen across the whole district.
This happening in our district. Please discuss this with your children. We are short on custodial staff and this wasteful and selfish act creates more work for folks who are doing their best to ensure scholars can learn in person. https://t.co/uKaT33JQQd— Columbia Public Schools AVID (@CPSAVID) September 17, 2021
CPS AVID mentioned that there has been a custodial staff shortage and that the TikTok challenges create additional work custodians have to do at schools.
Kim Ritter, a CPS mom, said schools are letting students know that they shouldn't do the challenge.
"My daughter said kids have taken soap dispensers and that schools has come over the intercom to let the kids know that it is not okay to vandalize the school bathrooms," Ritter said.
According to reporting from the Columbia Missourian, the Hallsville School District closed nine bathrooms and locker rooms in middle and high schools.
The damage of soap dispensers is creating challenges to help students wash their hands as school continue to face COVID-19 challenges.
TikTok has removed the search term "devious lick" from the app, saying this kind of content violates its community guidelines.
"We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities," a TikTok spokesperson told NBC News. "We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior."