Local school resource officers are keeping an eye on current TikTok trends after a challenge spawned vandalism and violence across schools nationwide.
The TikTok trend “Devious Licks” has a different challenge for each month, starting with students vandalizing school bathrooms in September and slapping staff members for the month of October.
Floyd County Schools’ chief security and safety officer, Rick Flanigen, said he has officers watching social media to see what’s going on.
“Right now, we’re really watching trends and troubling trends,” he said. “We did encounter some vandalism in our school where students were damaging appliances and stuff in the bathrooms.”
After Superintendent Glenn White caught wind of the incidents, he put out a $100 reward for any student who turns in another student for doing the challenges. Since then, the school system hasn’t had any more issues, White said.
With this month’s challenge involving striking a staff member, White said that any student who participates in the destructive and illegal challenges will be seriously disciplined.
“That is considered an assault and it will be treated as such,” Flanigen said.
The chief security officer said he thinks they got ahead of the problem and were able to quickly shut it down, but he also encourages parents to sit down and talk with their children about what they post on social media.
“It’s so important for parents to be aware of what’s happening on social media and what kids are posting,” he said. “If it’s threatening or inappropriate, there could be consequences. ... Once you do that, our hands are pretty much tied and we’ve got to proceed with it.”
Flanigen and FCS resource officers are trying to be proactive with their students and leading discussions on what they can and can’t post on social media.
“I hope these students don’t try to do what the TikTok monthly challenge asks them to do, but we’re focused on this intently and we hope to nip that in the bud,” he said.
Over at Rome City Schools, Community Relations Coordinator Courtney Crumley said they are aware of the TikTok challenges, but haven’t had any issues so far. However, principals are keeping an eye on the situation.