The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

Devious Licks Challenge and the Vandalism in its Wake

Fluctuating between writing on stalls and walls, stealing toilet seat covers and soap dispensers, to even stealing and breaking toilets and urinals, the destruction and vandalism of school restrooms is rising in schools–including at Marshfield High School. 

“The devious licks challenge, I feel like that it kinda inspired or motivated some kids to kinda take part in some of that,” said principal Elias Ashton.

On the social media app TikTok, the so-called devious licks challenge has been trending. The trend consists of destroying, vandalizing, and stealing school property–most commonly done in restrooms. Then followers post their devious licks on social media platforms such as TikTok. TikTok has made it a point to restrict devious licks, but it was around for long enough that the damage is evident.

“Our issue is bathrooms,” said Ashton. “I’d say 90 to 95 percent of our vandalism happens in the bathrooms.”

At MHS, vandalism occurs often. School bathrooms are a very common place for vandalism because they are perhaps the only public places in schools and in society where teenagers are assuredly free from adult supervision. This adult-free area leaves itself to teenagers who want to use bathrooms as a place to do anything that adults might disapprove of while they are in school. While most vandalism appears as writing on the stalls, there have been cases where soap dispensers are ripped off walls, and stall doors are removed. The worst case was in the boys restroom when a student climbed into the ceiling and ripped out the insulation. This took around two weeks to fix and clean and cost around $3,500.

“The vandalism occurs mostly upstairs in the boys bathroom,” said Coos Bay custodian Greg Fuller. According to the custodians and MHS principal, the boys commit the most destruction/theft in the restrooms and the girls commit the most graffiti. 

“I’d say probably 70-85 percent of it is in the boys bathroom,” says Ashton.

Custodians at every high school spend several hours per day cleaning or fixing vandalism by students. Graffiti has become a daily part of a custodian’s job, which is where they have to put most of their attention rather than putting it towards classrooms and halls. 

“Sometimes it’s a few minutes, sometimes it can be an hour,” says MHS custodian Connie Brownell.

Not only does cleaning the graffiti take a lot of time, it is also rather expensive. Cleaning products alone can range anywhere from 5-20 dollars a product and the actual damage itself can be a few dollars or even thousands.

 “It’s most of our work–if we didn’t have that, we could do other things. It takes a lot of time,” said Fuller.

Peer pressure can be a powerful force that pushes students to conform to destructive behaviors. Students who want to fit in or be accepted by their classmates may be a victim to the peer pressure to engage in this social media trend, even if it goes against their own beliefs and values. While those who partake in this challenge at schools are most commonly teenage boys, there has been plenty of vandalism in the girls bathrooms at MHS, also.

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About the Contributor
Lorelei Moon, Assistant Copy Editor
Sophomore Lorelei Moon is proceeding with her second year at the Marshfield Times. During school days she spends most of her time studying and taking care of her little sister. Her hobbies include; baking, listening to audio books about Buddhism and feminism, crocheting, playing the guitar, reading books, painting, yoga, meditating, taking walks in the forest, and volunteering at animal shelters. She is an intern at Rouge Climate Center and plans to pursue a career in animal rehabilitation and/or forensic science.
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