September 1, 2021. A TikTok user posted a video of him stealing a soap dispenser from his school, captioning it, “1 month into school… devious lick.” This video spread like wildfire on the internet, amassing 2.7 million views in two days. As this problem began to hit the news, TikTok made efforts to slow the spread of the trend by banning the hashtag that people would use to post. However, devious licks still became rampant in schools all over the U.S, and eventually found its way to Shoreline.
Theft is not a joke. Yet, how did crime become a normalized trend? While we may not know the motives of the “licks,” we do know the consequences.
Throughout his 15 years of being a custodian, Head Custodian Dave Brown describes his job as, “interacting with students and being on the go all the time.”
But this year has created many complications for Brown. “This year has been frustrating. We have had a lot more purposeful messes… the workload has already gone up due to sanitizing for Covid,” Brown said.
As of press time, eight bathrooms in total have been closed due to vandalism.
Brown states that some bathrooms were even vandalized multiple times. “It creates a lot of work. When they would take the soap dispensers off the wall they would rip the bags of soap open… and I have to take the time to install another dispenser,” he said.
Some things that were stolen include paper towel dispensers, wall plates, and faucet sinks. “Many people do not realize that dispensers are really expensive. You wouldn’t think so… but they are commercial,” Brown says. He estimates anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000 of school funds were lost.
“This is a district problem. There have been instances of this in Einstein, Kellogg, and Shorecrest. The administration is aware of this stuff,” Brown said.
He’s fully aware of the TikTok trend, which he says he never would have found out about if a student had not alerted him. “Why would anybody get any enjoyment or satisfaction out of just doing damage to something? Why people think it’s cool to be destructive… The whole thought of it, I just don’t get,” he said.
Even as the school year continues, vandalism is still present. As all trends do, Brown hopes that this trend will eventually die out.