TikTok Vandalism reaches Manhattan High

Ayana Jones, Staff Writer

Vandalism known as Devious Licks — a new TikTok trend that encourages teens to steal and vandalize school property — has made its way to Manhattan High, causing our school bathrooms to close and having major effects on our staff and student body.

On Tuesday the vandalism arrived at MHS East and West campuses resulting in all of MHS East campus’ bathrooms to close and all except two MHS West Campus bathrooms to close.  

“I’m sorry to our student body that we have to do that,” principal Micheal Dorst said. “We can’t have a bathroom open that has soap on the floor.” 

This all began with a TikTok by the user “whiteboywes,” who posted a video on Sept. 1 where he pulls a soap dispenser out of his backpack with the caption, “Only a month into school and I got this absolute devious lick.” The video went viral, gaining over 4.8 million views, and students nationwide started participating in this, pushing the action from “trend” to vandalism.

The severity of this vandalism is serious as it affects our school’s safety, from people in other schools in the nation allegedly taking fire alarms, to a student from MHS getting hurt after slipping on soap and falling. 

“Our custodial staff [does] a great job and to add vandalism, and not a single act of vandalism but vandalism on a very large scale, it is pressuring them past their capacity, not just to take care of a building, but to do their job,” Dorst said.

The school’s janitors and maintenance are tasked with cleaning up the vandals’ messes.

“It’s frustrating,” custodial staff member Jamie Myers said. “It kind of makes us feel unappreciated.” 

This sentiment is echoed by other maintenance staff.

“I’m a little disappointed in the vandalism that’s taken place, and the extra work it has caused for the maintenance and custodial staff and administration,” Assistant Director of Maintenance Jack Platt said. “I just hope everyone understands what they’re doing isn’t a game. I hope it will come to a stop soon.”

This situation doesn’t just have an affect on our school staff and janitors but also classes.

“We typically have restrooms near every classroom and now students have to go further away from their rooms to use the restroom,” art teacher Rachel Fontenot said. 

The damage done has cost the school up to $1,000 to fix. Students who participate in this vandalism can get charged from as little as $8 for a roll of towels to $75 for automatic towel dispensers.

“It’s terrible that it’s happening but we also know that it’s a small percentage of our students that are participating,” freshman principal Dave Holloway said. “I’m disappointed that people are willing to vandalize their own [school] just to be on social media.”