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‘Devious lick’ trend reaches Paly, school property stolen

Paly bathroom mirrors were vandalized and removed this week. Photos by Nikhil Majeti

The new “devious lick” trend on TikTok has led to multiple cases of vandalism and theft on Paly’s campus.

The trend, which started in early August, encourages students to steal items from classrooms and bathrooms and then display and rate them on TikTok. 

In an email sent by Greene Middle School administrators, the challenge was described in three tiers.

“A low grade swipe includes toilet paper rolls, class pets and other classmates’ shoes,” the email said. “Mid-tier thieves will go after parking signs, school laptops and desk chairs.”

According to the email, “top-tier swipes” can include security cameras and entire filing cabinets, referred to as “nefarious, diabolical and god-forsaken licks.”

“It’s really popular in 10th grade,” a sophomore, who agreed to be interviewed only if his name wasn’t used, said. “I think the craziest ones (at Paly) were a toaster, a fire extinguisher and a lamp.”

Most of the vandalism at Paly can be categorized as low-grade, the sophomore said. Along with vanishing soap dispensers and mirrors, random objects from classrooms have also been stolen. 

“I took a hole puncher from my teacher,” the sophomore said. “Taking random stuff has just been a fun thing to do with friends.” 

But it appears students haven’t only been swiping items from their teachers.

“I’d like my favorite pencil back,” freshman Declan Baker said. “I would say (the devious lick challenge) is probably not for the best.”

A senior, who asked to remain anonymous, agrees. 

“I think it can be kind of amusing when it’s small things,” the senior said. “But there’s a lot of stuff being stolen that is super expensive or hard to replace, which I don’t think is OK.”

Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson said Paly officials are monitoring the school’s security system to prevent more damage. 

“All the cameras work in the school now, so it’ll make it easier for us to track who’s going in and out of the bathrooms in order to catch them,” Berkson said.

Berkson said anyone caught participating in the trend will face serious consequences. 

“It will go on your record and could be suspendable,” Berkson said. “Under certain circumstances, it could even affect your extracurriculars.”

Campus Supervisor Carl Hubenthal said the trend needs to end.

“I think the best way to get it to stop is for people to understand that they’re really just hurting their own school rather than thinking they’re getting one over on somebody,” Hubenthal said. “They’re taking opportunities away from their fellow students.” 

This story has been updated to make a source anonymous at the source’s request.

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    ...May 29, 2022 at 12:21 am

    the way paly administrators are more willing to punish students for stealing than committing sexual assault. also, supposedly more expensive items which pausd could easily replace with their overflowing budget are more harshly punished while smaller “licks” such as teachers’ own supplies which they pay for out of pocket are less considered. sad that pausd doesnt realize its own hypocrisy.

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    Former Student Class of 2020Sep 20, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Paly Bathrooms have never been the cleanest but this is just insane