FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Southwest Allen County Schools (SACS) is seeing an increase in students following a social media trend on TikTok called “Devious Licks” which promotes vandalism and theft.
“Obviously, our kids are influenced by social media and TikTok,” said Dr. Park Ginder, the SACS Superintendent. “The kids post a lot of different things on it. When I say kids, kids from all over the country, and then it influences what happens at school and how we behave.”
This increase prompted Dr. Ginder to send a letter home to SACS parents Thursday night.
“According to clips chronicled on this platform, video shows students from across the country stealing school furnishings or committing acts of vandalism such as emptying soap dispensers on the floors, smearing soap on walls, breaking mirrors, or clogging toilets. Like many districts across the nation, SACS has been negatively impacted by this social media craze,” said Dr. Ginder in the letter.
Some examples of the type of vandalism occurring, according to Dr. Ginder, is clogging devices, causing water to overflow, and taking items off the walls. He couldn’t provide an exact number for how many times, but said “it’s happening.”
“A lot of things that would happen in areas where kids can be for five minutes, four minutes, three minutes and not be seen,” said Dr. Ginder. “So, think of things that would happen in the bathroom.”
Dr. Ginder said any students who continue to vandalize school property will face the appropriate consequences. Some of the vandalism could even result in criminal charges, according to the superintendent.
He is encouraging parents to discuss the issue with their children in an effort to curb it from continuing.
“Parents need to be aware of what their student-aged kids are doing with social media, sometimes mom or dad are sure what’s going on,” said Dr. Ginder. “An honest conversation at the family level about what we expect as a family and you don’t need to be involved in this, and if something happens, what do you tell and how do you get involved in a positive way.”
The district is also ramping up how it monitors the issue. Dr. Ginder said teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, and other personnel such as custodians will be checking out the restrooms more often, as well as taking careful note of what students are using out of the classroom and in the halls.
As for other Fort Wayne districts, a spokeswoman for Northwest Allen County Schools said she hasn’t received any reports of the issue surfacing.
The same goes for Fort Wayne Community Schools. However, its spokeswoman added that “doesn’t mean it’s not happening, but maybe not as bad.”
East Allen County Schools’ spokeswoman was out of the office on Friday and unavailable for comment.
Any student with information or who witnesses inappropriate behavior is asked to reach out to a building administrator or use Quick Tip on their school’s website.