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Education officials promise accountability as destructive TikTok challenge targets San Antonio schools

Soap dispensers are being ripped off walls and mirrors damaged as part of the viral "Devious Licks" trend undertaken by troublemaking students.

SAN ANTONIO — Students are destroying school property and posting about it online as part of a recent TikTok trend coined "Devious Licks." 

The viral social media videos are popping up from schools across the nation, and the damaging phenomenon is also unfolding in San Antonio. The city's largest school districts are reporting thousands of dollars' worth of vandalism. At North East ISD, officials are even going so far as to close restrooms at one campus. 

Josiah Tabanan, a senior at Johnson High School, said he's witnessed some of the destruction. 

"Feces on the walls, on the mirrors," he said. "One that I have seen is they will take the soap and dump it in the urinals. They will just go to the bathroom on the floor in some cases."

Johnson High is one of six schools at NEISD reporting vandalism. District Spokesperson Aubrey Chancellor said the damages at this school amount to the thousands' of dollars.

"It is so unfortunate that sometimes kids these days see something on social media and think it would be a good idea in reality," she said.

Officials said students are taking random items from school and posting the theft or damage online. The term "lick" in the TikTok challenge's name refers to successful thefts.

"We are seeing paper towel dispensers removed from walls, soap dispensers removed from walls, mirrors taken down, sometimes mirrors are damaged," she said.

It's gotten so bad that Johnson High's principal sent a letter to parents and students. The school is even shutting down restrooms.

"We want to make sure this is stopped," Chancellor said. "And try to figure out who is responsible."

NEISD is not alone. North Side and San Antonio ISDs are also reporting the same type of destruction at several of their campuses. SAISD released the following to KENS 5"

"We have received some reports of damages consistent with the TikTok challenge, which includes forced removal of soap, toilet paper and paper towel dispensers.

"We encourage parents to have conversations with their children about how the severity of these types of actions affect others – depriving peers from proper sanitation immediately following the vandalism and forcing the closure of restrooms until repairs can be completed.

"These student actions will result in consequences consistent with the Student Code of Conduct."

NEISD reports the students responsible will pay for the damages. The principal at Johnson said students could be banned from going to school events like prom. They said most of the troublemakers have been identified. 

According to several reports on Wednesday, TikTok said it will be banning videos associated with the Devious Licks challenge from its platform.

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