By Scott Calzolaio Town Crier Reporter
The beginning of the school year has been a bit bumpy at Milford High School, as administrators crack down on social media’s latest trend called “Devious Licks.”
The hashtag #DeviousLicks has garnered hundreds of videos on the platform TikTok showing students stealing items from school bathrooms across the country.
Some of the videos show serious instances of vandalism, and have racked up millions of views. TikTok has since taken down any videos with the hashtag.
At Milford High School, Principal Joshua Otlin said that incidents in the restrooms go back to about the second week of school, with the most prominent occurring last Tuesday.
“We had kids who had placed rolls of paper towels in the toilets, soap dispensers torn off and stolen, some students took red juice and splashed it all over the walls to make it look like blood,” he said.
It was around this time, Otlin said, that the “Devious Licks” videos on TikTok were introduced to administrators. He said realizing this was an international social media trend, put the problem into focus.
“It became clear that this was not an isolated incident, but a series of connected incidents that were picking up in frequency and intensity,” he said.
The incidents were met with a harsh pushback by the administration. School-wide interventions, shutting down bathrooms, restricting use to two students at a time, and placing staff outside the bathrooms were a few of the restrictions put into place.
Emails went out to students and parents asking for help to close the case, and bring those responsible forward. Otlin said that this was well received, and a number of students stepped up to give administrators leads to aid the investigation.
Otlin is choosing to make this into a learning experience, highlighting social media’s influence, and how it affects the community at large. Social media to these young adults, he said, plays out as having a very important role in their lives.
“I don’t think we would see something like this without social media as a conduit through which this behavior is spread very quickly across the country,” he said. “It’s a good time to stop and engage them in a serious conversation. It’s an effort to get them to navigate these challenges.”