Attending school in 2021 has never been so bizarre. With the stress posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, you would think that people would want things to return back to normal. However, a viral trend on TikTok has shown that this is far from true. In September 2021, many students across the United States were posting videos of themselves stealing, vandalizing, and showing off items they have stolen from their schools. The trend, known as “devious licks”, has resulted in criminal arrests for some of these students.
It is believed that the trend started on September 1st, 2021, with TikTok user “jugg4elias”. The user posted a video showcasing disposable masks that he stole from school with the caption “A month into school. Absolutely devious lick“. After his post went viral, many students followed suit and wanted to participate. Most often, students would steal items from school bathrooms, but really anything in the school was fair game to post as a diabolical lick.
But why? Why would so many students choose to participate in such a deviant act that could result in their arrest? With the observations I have made, I believe many students that have participated found the trend to be funny. You attend school, look around, and see anything from fire alarms, exit signs, bathroom stalls, soap dispensers, to even toilets missing. Additionally, the act of stealing something from school is similar to the thrills seen with shoplifting. It is likely that many students participated in the trend to feel that surge of adrenaline engaging in such risky behavior — and more importantly, getting away with it. The devious lick trend also works as an act of defiance, especially against education. With all these factors combined, it is easy to understand why the devious lick trend occurred in several schools across America.
By mid September, TikTok decided to ban the trend with all hashtags leading to no results. Any videos that were posted were supposedly taken down, but you may still be able to find a few posted to the app. What you will be able to find more of, however, is a new trend titled angelic yields. To apologize for the devious lick trend, students are now leaving items such as toilet paper, soap, and magazines in school bathrooms, giving back to the school they stole from.