INDIANAPOLIS — Several central Indiana school districts are reporting damage and some have closed bathrooms as the "devious lick" challenge spreads across TikTok.
This latest trend involves removing items from school bathrooms by ripping them off the wall or by doing other things like clogging toilets with signs.
Richard Craig, an Avon Community School Corporation School Resource Officer, made his own TikTok encouraging kids to stop the devious licks.
"It went from soap bags missing on Monday to now we’re missing actual soap dispensers and now we have a restroom that has tile damage or drywall damage," Craig said. "You’re damaging property at this point, you’re damaging the school and you’re damaging the restroom."
Avon Community Schools has seen a few incidents within the district and Craig says a lot of students are taking the soap dispensers home.
"A lot of them are taking them home because really what do you do with a commercial soap dispenser at your house, let alone what do you do with five of them at home and what do you do with them as a 13-year-old?" Craig said. "You stick them under your bed, you stick them in your backpack, you take them home, you film them, you show them to your friends, the devious lick, you post it on TikTok or Instagram, hopefully gain some views and that’s it. In a middle schooler’s frame of mind, I truly believe that they think that that’s it and no harm no foul, and that’s really not the case.”
Craig says depending on how the school handles it, students could face criminal charges, including possible felonies. He's encouraging parents to talk to their kids about what they're seeing and if they've participated.
"I assure you if they haven’t, they know someone who has or they know about it, someone in their school has done something similar. This isn’t just a centralized area … it is widespread," Craig said. "As teenagers, as parents, as a staff member in a school we have a duty and an obligation, I feel, to inform kids. Kids are here to learn, not just science, math and social studies but they’re here to learn life lessons as well. I feel this is one of those coachable moments and teachable moments that we need to teach our kids and teach our students what the consequences of this will be and why there are consequences."
Other districts across the state are also seeing issues. Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Harold Olin said a couple of bathrooms at the junior high and high school have been vandalized, and some restrooms have been closed as crews fix the damage.
"Students are still allowed to use the other restrooms during passing periods. We have drastically limited the use of restrooms at other times of the day," Olin said. "This measure is a short-term intervention to allow us to get this matter resolved."
Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation reported closer monitoring of restrooms at the middle school after property damage issues were discovered.
"While we are temporarily closing some restrooms, periodically, throughout the school day we have increased hall pass time to make sure every student has adequate time to use the restroom. No girls restrooms have been impacted and no lunchroom periods have been altered by this issue," Rick Hightower, communications coordinator for the district, said. "So far the pro-active steps we've taken have slowed the problem and we have been able, with the help of students and parent reporting to identify some of those responsible."
Clark-Pleasant isn't the only Johnson County school district closing bathrooms.
Stacy Conrad, Executive Director of Communications for Center Grove, said the high school has seen some issues and students have been disciplined accordingly.
In a message to parents, Center Grove High School said it has also had to close some restrooms and closely monitor students in the hallways.
"We would like to assure you that several bathrooms are open for use both during class time and passing periods. Teachers may allow students to use the restroom during class so long as the student signs out and has a pass, which has always been an expectation of staff and students," the message said. "We encourage you to have a conversation with your student(s) about the consequences of stealing or damaging school property."
David Clendening, Superintendent of Franklin Community Schools, told WRTV "it appears the restroom[s] were damaged and have been closed for repair."