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Destructive TikTok Challenge hits Lubbock, students vandalize bathrooms

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 9:58 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Students here in Lubbock are vandalizing school bathrooms for likes and follows on TikTok. It’s a social media challenge going viral across the country called “Devious Licks.” While it may seem to these students like a harmless prank, Lubbock I. S. D. could press charges. The district’s Police Chief Ray Mendoza says almost all Lubbock I. S. D. high schools and middle schools have been hit by the challenge.

“You know, when you go and steal and damage other people’s property, it’s not a prank. It’s criminal behavior and we’re not going to tolerate it,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza says students have broken mirrors, stolen soap dispensers, and put paper towel dispensers in the toilet to one-up each other for attention on social media. One bathroom was covered in Kool-Aid. He says the damage is disruptive, leaving hardworking custodial staff to clean up the mess and putting bathrooms on lockdown until fixtures can be replaced.

“Well, we’re here to send these kids out with diplomas, not sentences and felony charges, you know. We want them to graduate and to be productive members of society and this is not a good start for them,” Mendoza said.

Administrators are trying to find the culprits, ready to use school discipline and possibly more. Mendoza says vandalism causing less than $100 worth of damage is a Class C misdemeanor, $101 to $750 is a Class B misdemeanor, and on up to felony charges.

“The damages that we have seen and are doing this, have probably not risen to a felony level. But it’s definitely in the, in the high thousands. So, it’s probably a class A to class B misdemeanor,” Mendoza said.

Erin Gregg, executive director of Communications and Community Relations, says the district sent out a letter to parents to make them aware of the challenge and provide resources to help them understand how their kids are using TikTok.

“You know we’re just trying to work with our campus administrators and also involve our parents and guardians to help put a stop to it. Because as Chief Mendoza mentioned, it’s not only disruptive, it’s also expensive and it diverts resources away from other priorities at the campus,” Gregg said.

Thursday night during the football game, students ransacked the bathroom at Plains Capital Park.

“And some of them are just fed up with it, you know. Last night we had a lot of response from the students who were agitated about the situation and of course the fans and the spectators were agitated with it,” Mendoza said.

The challenge is moving beyond the bathroom. Mendoza says students are targeting emergency exit signs and stole a fire extinguisher that’s since been retrieved. The school hasn’t pressed charges yet, but many cases are still under investigation.

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