What “devious licks” actually steal from the school

Carmela Cadja, staff writer

Recently, Edina High School students have been stealing and breaking items in bathrooms, inspired by a back-to-school TikTok trend dubbed “devious licks.” The trend involves people competing to see who can cause the most havoc in school by stealing or vandalizing property.

A “lick” is described as a successful attempt at theft that results in a “reward” for the person committing the crime. Captioned with the phrase “devious/diabolical lick,” countless chaotic TikToks of students vandalizing school bathrooms have gone viral. One TikTok user posted a video displaying a student removing a stolen hand dryer from their backpack, while another presents an entire toilet missing from a stall. Some EHS students decided to follow suit as this activity has now found its way into EHS’ walls and the entire building is starting to feel the consequences. 

“I’ve seen damages as far as soap dispensers knocked off the walls, toilet paper dispensers knocked off the stall walls, and one Dyson AirBlade hand dryer kicked off the wall…[and] multiple instances of graffiti,” head custodian Shawn Draves said. 

These instances have caused the first-floor bathrooms to be locked. On Sept. 16, the principals of Valley View, South View, and EHS sent out an email to parents, alerting them of the trend. The email said, “It is important that you and your students know that we take damage to school property very seriously. Discipline for vandalism can include suspension from school. Also, the cost for replacing and repairing damage may be assessed to the family.” The cost of the damages totals around $2,500 to $3,000. To crack down on the disruptive students, EHS administrators have increased security measures around the school. “[We] make sure we are investigating anything that comes our way to make sure that every kid is in a safe place in the building,” Dean of Students Brad Dahlman said.

This behavior not only affects the students who are trying to access the bathrooms but also creates a burden for the custodians who are left to clean up the aftermath.  “It makes me very frustrated. We try to maintain a very nice facility here with everything available, especially in the view of COVID,” Draves said. He added that the destruction of soap dispensers is extremely unsafe when consistent hygiene is key to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Students have opinions on the matter that have generally reached the same consensus: the trend provided a few laughs at one point, but eventually got old. “It was kind of funny at one point, but then it just starts to get annoying because people just want to, like, wash their hands in the bathroom or something, and they just want to get back to what they were doing,” senior Andrew Kenney said. 

“I think it’s pretty upsetting for the teachers and the school managers, and everyone that has to get their resources, and the kids are finding it funny because they’re using the stuff that they take as a ‘lick’ from school as a souvenir to show off on the internet,” senior Hanan Abdi said. Principal Andy Beaton and Dahlman have not stated any new regulations regarding the bathrooms as of now.