By Marla Terminel
With social media becoming a major part of our everyday lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world participates in social media trends, most of which are harmless; however, others have caused a major spike in theft of public property.
The trend, known as “Devious Licks”, first surfaced on TikTok in early September as most schools across the country returned to in-person learning. The internet challenge promotes theft in public schools of items such as soap and paper towel dispensers from restrooms, but at Pueblo, this theft has gone as far to include a restroom stall door and fire extinguishers.
“Kids are stealing stuff as a part of an online challenge and its only hurting themselves,” said band director and music teacher Mr. Jesus Jacquez. He added that school supplies are already difficult to replace, as it took the marching band 12 years to receive new uniforms from administration.
“Anything you [students] steal or damage has to come out of someone else’s pocket,” he added. “Studnets need to stop being disrespectful.”
The trend has disproportionately impacted all the boys’ restrooms—as they are all missing soap dispensers.
Custodian Mr. Albert Ochoa said, “It [these thefts at Pueblo] saddens me because it affects everyone. Most bathrooms will indefinitely be missing supplies because students are breaking or stealing them.”
Senior David Cañes said that he has resorted to bringing his own personal supplies such as hand soap to school because some are no longer being supplied in restrooms—more necessary now than ever to help the spread of COVID-19.
“The trend started while I was quarantined, so I was surprised to see it as an actual problem at our school,” said Cañez. “I don’t want to be in the restrooms anymore despite some teachers already not allowing students to go because I’m afraid of the association.”
Although some students have been caught with other forms of vandalism such as breaking fire exit signs, pulling fire alarms, and stealing fire extinguishers, none have been caught stealing from restrooms.
Administrator, David Montano said, “it’s difficult to find students who are stealing from restrooms because they could hide soap dispensers in their backpacks.”
25 soap dispensers have been ordered to replace the ones that are broken and stolen and despite some already being replaced in some restrooms, students have continued to break and steal them.
Students who are caught damaging property will be suspended and charged with the cost of the item through either pay or community service.
“It pains me to see,” Montano added. “The school puts so much money and effort into replacing these items just for them to be broken again. I hope these students could grow and learn to stay safe, healthy, and to respect the schools pride.”
Administration is actively monitoring social media for trends and will not be replacing any more items until theft and vandalism declines nationally and at school.
“I am disappointed to see this behavior from our students,” Jacquez said. “[At school] we don’t steal, lie, fight or be disrespectful. That is how it’s always been, and that’s how it should always be.”