Alexander City school buses

Jake Arthur / The Outlook

Alexander City school buses parked behind Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City, Friday, Sep. 17, 2021.

A TikTok challenge that's been banned from the video app is now costing local schools in stolen property and vandalism.

Alexander City and Tallapoosa County school systems issued statements on Facebook within hours of each other Wednesday, calling on parents to help stop further "devious licks," or petty theft or vandalism, in their tracks.

The destructive trend began earlier this month, when a TikTok user stole a box of face masks, posting a video with the caption "A month into school... devious lick." The post spurred thousands of homages, in which students stole soap dispensers, ceiling tiles and even a few items of value like microscopes or smart boards, many of which have since been removed by TikTok.

In a letter to parents and stakeholders shared on Facebook, Tallapoosa County Schools superintendent Ray Porter asked for help with the "urgent issue."

"Although we have only had a few incidents, the cost is beginning to add up," the letter reads. "Please talk to your student about this issue and impress upon them how serious the matter has become. If we have proof of a student participating in the challenge, he/she will face disciplinary consequences, financial consequences and could be subject to prosecution."

Neighboring Alex City Schools' Benjamin Russell High School principal Shannon Benefield also addressed the issue in his letter to parents Wednesday.

"We've had a couple of small incidents that have occurred in our school," he said. "Our stance is that these careless acts are seen as property damage, and we will seek restitution for damages. We will also seek disciplinary action with violators and copycats. This is something that the students think is funny, but it is something that we as adults must teach is not the right thing to do."

Recommended for you