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B.C. students stealing soap, dispensers from schools as part of TikTok challenge

Click to play video: 'TikTok ‘challenge’ has B.C. school districts dealing with theft and vandalism of school property' TikTok ‘challenge’ has B.C. school districts dealing with theft and vandalism of school property
A challenge being spread on the social media app 'TikTok' has students stealing school property such as soap and towel dispensers. As John Hua reports, that's forcing school districts to use part their already-stretched budgets to replace the stolen or damaged items – Sep 16, 2021

Some B.C. school districts say soap and soap dispensers are going missing from their schools due to a viral TikTok trend.

Known, as Devious Licks, it appears to have started on Sept. 1 and encourages students to put supplies such as paper towels, lab equipment and soap dispensers in their backpack and then show their “heist” on a TikTok video.

Read more: Regina TikToker nearing 2M followers through science, humour-based videos

A “lick” refers to a successful theft.

Click to play video: 'Tik-Tok trend sparks B.C. school vandalism' Tik-Tok trend sparks B.C. school vandalism
Tik-Tok trend sparks B.C. school vandalism – Sep 16, 2021

The more difficult objects to obtain, the more “licks” the student gets. For example, class pets or a classmate’s shoes are “small-grade licks,” according to Mashable.

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Parking signs and school laptops would get more “licks,” and really difficult objects to obtain, such as an entire filing cabinet or a security camera, would be “referred to as nefarious, diabolical, and godforsaken licks,” Mashable reports.

However, these hijinks are having a negative effect on B.C. schools, especially during a pandemic.

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The Chilliwack School District told Global News that 42 soap dispensers have gone missing so far.

“Unfortunately, this is occurring at a time when there is a worldwide supply issue, partly due to this trend and partly due to supply issues around plastic,” the district said in a statement.

“It is therefore difficult to replace all of the missing dispensers.”

Read more: 150 arrested after viral TikTok video draws hundreds to California beach party

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North Vancouver’s school district said it has also seen a rise in these types of incidents.

“In a short period of time, this ‘challenge’ has already led to several acts of vandalism, theft and destruction of property,” Brad Baker, the district principal said in a letter.

“Soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and signage have been forcibly removed from walls, wall mirrors have been damaged, and a number of classroom-based items have been stolen.”

Baker said that while this challenge may seem harmless to students participating, it is “alarming, inappropriate, and illegal and could have long-term consequences for the students involved.

“As we have shared with our school district community throughout COVID-19, the health and safety of our students and staff are a priority. When soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers, which are necessary to facilitate good hand hygiene, are removed from bathrooms, and particularly, single-stall bathrooms, bathroom spaces become unusable.”

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Baker said students and staff should expect reduced bathroom access while the district waits for replacements and supplies to arrive.

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He added when they identify the kids involved, they can expect to meet with their school’s administration to learn of the consequences of their actions, which may include recovery costs for damaged property.

TikTok told Insider that it will be removing content and hashtags relating to the Devious Licks trend as they violate rules relating to criminal activity.

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