Schools throughout Northern Virginia are alerting parents about a new social media trend that promotes students to vandalize school property.
Opening the social media app TikTok and searching the word "devious" has pulled up thousands of videos of a trend called "devious licks." Students are recording TikTok videos of themselves vandalizing bathrooms or stealing property from schools and sharing them online.
"I heard some kid took a trash can out the door and no one said anything," Nathan Perkins, a parent of a Rocky Run Middle School student, said.
The trend "presents a challenge to maintaining a healthy and safe school environment" and will carry disciplinary consequences, Rocky Run Middle School Principal Amy Goodloe said in a letter sent to parents.
The problem became so prevalent that TikTok took action — the company says it will ban these videos and stop users from accessing the tags associated with them.
"We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities. We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior," a TikTok spokesperson told News4.
The parent of a Lake Braddock Secondary student sent News4 a photo of what appeared to be missing hand soap dispensers inside a school bathroom.
One of the primary targets of the trend appears to be hand soap and sanitizer.
The principal at Lake Braddock Secondary sent a letter home to parents this week saying staff will increase supervision at all of the restrooms throughout the school and will even close some of the restrooms during transitions and lunches.
"[I've had] lengthy conversations with both of my girls saying, you know, number one:
this is stealing, destruction of property," said a Fairfax County mother who did not want to be named.
The trend isn't just happening in Fairfax County. Prince William County Public Schools reported a few incidents it said could be related. Arlington Public Schools had a few and so did North Stafford High School.
"Just because you see people doing it and they have those few seconds of fame on TikTok, it does not mean anything," the Fairfax County mother said.