By Sora Ehrhardt, Contributor
‘Devious Licks’ is a popular TikTok trend that involves students vandalizing and stealing from their schools. The objects being stolen have grown in tandem with the trend, ranging from soap dispensers to school buses. Because of its popularity of TikTok, it’s been able to be spread to almost every school in the nation, including Payton.
There are also new trends that have branched off of this one. One of these trends involves making fun of teachers and other school administrators, who’ve expressed concern about the trend. However, administrators and teachers have a reason for their concern. The Chicago Public School district does not have enough in their budget to keep replacing large amounts of supplies, leaving teachers responsible for replacing stolen items with their own money. Because of this, teachers and administrators have begun to push back through their own TikTok videos. Teachers and administrators call out students who’ve participated in this trend publicly by stitching or duetting (two collaboration methods on the platform) their videos.
However, with the Devious Licks trend, very few people can tell if the videos are satirical or not. Many of the videos never show the stolen object, adding uncertainty around whether they were vandalizing school property or not.
Some people are taking action to combat this fad. Recently, a new trend called Angelic Yields has emerged. Also called Holiest Yields, these videos include community members reversing the effects of the Devious Licks trend. They feature people either returning items that were stolen, or working to make their schools better furnished. Videos appearing on this trend always play jazz in the background – a stark contrast from the rap song that plays in the original videos
In late September and early October, the Devious Licks trend came to Payton, prompting a letter to be sent out to the community from administration, addressing the issues. The third-floor bathrooms were closed for a couple of weeks, and many students were annoyed at the lack of accessibility. Though the administration blamed the closure on leaks, some students speculated that the vandalism was the cause. Vidhi Piparia ‘23 told the Paw Print that she had always thought the closures were because of the stolen items. Most of the objects stolen have been soap dispensers, which are used often during the time of COVID-19. This trend left students with less access to Payton’s restrooms, and one anonymous student claims that someone went as far as stealing a toilet seat. The third floor bathrooms have since been re-opened.
The reaction to the Devious Licks trends has differed between students and staff. While most students are only mildly annoyed, or even amused, teachers have different opinions. “Devious licks can lick my dirty socks,” says Mr. Walker, who teaches computer science and math. However, some students feel the complete opposite. One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, feels that anything stolen is easily replaceable. “It was funny despite its illegality; most of them were harmless and easily fungible; it’s like stealing train maps,” said the student. He went on to say that it provides him with “a good laugh every day.”