A TikTok trend is causing students to damage and steal school property nationwide

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JOPLIN, Mo. — A virtual trend is leaving its mark at schools across the four states.

It involves theft or vandalism at school.

And it’s a trend affecting several schools in the region.

“I would say probably all school districts are experiencing that to some extent,” said Dave Pettit, Joplin Schools Facilities.

It’s a TikTok challenge prompting students to record themselves taking or damaging something on campus.

“Discussions that I’ve had, when talking with other school districts it’s ranged anywhere from toilet paper dispenser soap dispensers all the way up to actually stealing the toilet, which I have heard, was when one case, toilet partition doors, you know, anything that did they think they can fairly easily remove,” said Pettit.

Joplin High School has seen a limited impact, about a dozen bathroom soap dispensers taken or damaged.

There are also minor damage reports at Webb City, Carl Junction, Carthage, Neosho, McDonald County, Pittsburg – the list goes on and on.

Restrooms are generally the target, and schools are following up on cases where they can identify the culprit.

Joplin school leaders are also encouraging families to be proactive.

“The best thing parents can do is have a talk with their students. Talk about social media in general but also how it affects their relationship with their community at the school,” said Pettit.

TikTok is also fighting the spread of the challenge called “devious licks.”

They’re removing any videos associated with that hashtag.

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