‘Devious Licks’ promote destructive behavior in schools nationwide


Jack Larson, Online Editor-in-Chief

Influenced by TikTok and trends from social media, students throughout the nation have been gaining notoriety for disruptive school behavior such as vandalizing bathrooms and slapping teachers.

While the phrase “hitting devious licks”- which originated from social media app TikTok – started out as completing brainless tasks of vandalism within school bathrooms, it has now expanded to not just destruction of school property and theft, but now, according to USA Today, straightforward assault, like to “smack a staff member” or “jab a breast.” 

“Things are always funny to people until they’re on the wrong side of it,” said English teacher Jon Hannel. “What’s frustrating about all this is that people never really stop to consider whom they’re affecting.”

While such “devious licks” haven’t been as widespread at BHS as at other schools, teachers and custodians are still greatly affected by such ignorant attitudes.

“It’s just not funny,” Hannel said. “Vandalizing the bathrooms; now you’re taking time out of our custodians already busy days, to fix that. What if someone were to have an emergency, and they now have to deal with the anxiety of hoping to find an open bathroom because somebody (hit a ‘devious lick’)? The inability to process this is really just disheartening.”

Hannel said that students need to realize how many people they’re affecting; and this especially applies now. This is because some teachers and students are fatigued from returning to the standard school day from a remote or hybrid block schedule.

Another great concern from many staff members and administrators, such as Assistant Principal Brian Swanson, is the possibility of students going down the wrong path and facing serious legal charges.

While Swanson was unable to disclose any specific details about any “devious licks” or vandalism occurring at BHS, he did stress the importance of students keeping peers accountable for their actions.

“Student (and) peer-to-peer accountability is really a key in this situation,” he said. “So, if you’re hearing about any of these things that could happen inside or outside of school, be sure to inform a trusted adult in the building so we can go ahead and act on those things that could lead to school discipline and possibly legal ramifications.”

Legal ramifications are a serious possibility in these instances, especially if students follow through with October’s new TikTok challenge, which can result in severe charges such as assault.

“Personally, I’m very concerned about students not thinking about the future consequences of their actions,” said English teacher Sarah Nordstrom. “For the short term, you might receive clout on the internet. But in the long term, you could potentially get a charge against you for destruction of property or assault. (Students) just need to think about the future consequences of (their) actions.”

Nordstrom said that with a little guidance and clear thinking students can avoid causing these situations in the first place.

“I think that teaching students to have more awareness on social media, and the consequences of their actions (will help prevent this in the future),” she said. “Your social imprint, your online presence, is permanent, because everything on the internet is forever.”

Although “Devious Licks” casts a dark shadow over some peoples’ opinions of teenagers, they still do not define this generation. Overall, most students seem to think that the trend of damaging behavior is idiotic.

“This started out as something intended to be innocent, but now kids are taking it too far,” said senior Kaden Finnestad. “I think that instead of blaming social media, this is more the result of poor thought processes of kids in our generation.”

Some believe that such imprudent actions point to a core thirst for clout and attention from others.

“I don’t think most kids our age are necessarily incompetent,” Finnestad said. “I just think they want to fit in and be part of the trend.”

If you hear any word about a “Devious Lick” about to transpire, Mr. Swanson recommends either telling a trusted adult or calling the Boone County Crime Stoppers at (815) 547-7867.