Written by Juliana Jones and Samir Chowdhary-Fitton

Cover photo by Samir Chowdhary-Fitton

Across the country, students have been jumping on the new TikTok trend of “Devious Licks,” where students post videos of themselves stealing school property, and, unfortunately, M-A is no exception. Since the trend began, anything from desks to bathroom stall doors have been stolen or vandalized—all of which the school is financially responsible for. 

When it comes to replacing soap dispensers, campus plant manager Brien Oliver said, “It costs around $60 for three soap dispensers, and I’ve spent $300 so far,” meaning that in total, around 15 soap dispensers have been broken or stolen since mid-September when the trend began. 

English teacher Lisa Otsuka’s trash can was stolen during the height of the trend in late September. She said, “The trend is to steal from teachers who are already woefully underpaid. You’re targeting the wrong people to steal from. Don’t steal from your public school teachers.” However, she has faith in the students of M-A. “I don’t think anyone did it in any sort of a malicious way. If I were to look at even spanning my 30 year career, I have received much more than I’ve given. For example, yesterday I had two students who work at the farmers’ market bring all this extra bread for me and my students.”

Despite M-A’s wishes that students will respect campus, there are some students who continue to deface or steal school property. One anonymous student admitted that they “stole a balance beam for a day. A triple beam balance [$200-300 each] and the plates for the classrooms.” The student said they returned everything the next day, but that there are still others who are stealing, keeping, and even selling school property. 

Even though the “Devious Licks” trend is harmful to schools, especially public schools with limited funding and resources, millions of young people still find it worthy of a laugh or a like on TikTok. The anonymous student said, “It’s teenage humor, maybe. The idea of it might be funny, but actually doing it might not be.”

Other students disagree. Sophomore Ava Johnson said, “I think it’s encouraging stealing, which is not helpful, and costs money for the school.”

In response to the trend, administration put out a statement today on M-A Today that “anybody who steals from or destroys our campus faces serious consequences, not only with the school, but with law enforcement. Please continue to think before you act.”

However, Mr. Oliver is still optimistic about the solution for the chaos. “I think the solution is just getting the word out there and saying, ‘This is your school. This is your campus. This is what we have for you.’”

Juliana Jones

Juliana Jones is a senior and in her first year in journalism at M-A. She enjoys writing about local events and new school policies. In her free time, Juliana enjoys figure skating and spending quality time with loved ones.

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