High schools in Buckhead, Sandy Springs and Midtown are reporting that students are damaging school property due to a viral social media challenge.

Across the country, there’s been a challenge on TikTok called “devious licks” where students are stealing or damaging school property. Some of the videos reportedly got millions of views and show kids stealing items such as soap or paper towel dispensers.

Curtis Douglass, principal of North Atlanta High School in Buckhead, got on Facebook Wednesday to address the social media challenge.

“At North Atlanta, this has reared its head primarily in the student restrooms, specifically the boys’ restrooms,” Douglass wrote. “For example, we are having soap dispensers, sinks, hand dryers and other things destroyed. These actions violate the District Code of Conduct. We are not going to tolerate this behavior.”

Douglass, in the post, said the school would hand out harsh punishments to any student found destroying or stealing school property. The school also plans to monitor restrooms.

Kindra Smith, principal of Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs, sent a letter to parents and guardians about the issue.

“Several Riverwood students defaced or removed items from our school bathrooms as part of a TikTok challenge,” Smith said in the letter. “These acts of vandalism and theft go against everything we stand for at Riverwood which is the respect of all students, staff, and our school home.”

Dr. Betsy Bockman, principal of Midtown High School, also sent a note to parents and students.

“For example, we see soap and paper dispensers, sinks, hand dryers and other things destroyed,” Bockman said. “Students are intentionally flooding restrooms. There has also been an incredible amount of graffiti in the boys’ bathrooms as well … The amount of money and staff time expended to continually repair and replace fixtures and repaint walls and scrape tile is greater than I have ever seen in my 24 years of being a principal.”

A TikTok spokesperson released a statement to Reporter Newspapers about the “devious licks” challenge.

“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.”

Update: This story has been updated with information about Riverwood International Charter School and Midtown High School.

Amy Wenk

Amy Wenk was editor of Reporter Newspapers in 2021-22.