Hayes navigates rise in dangerous TikTok trends


Kristen Smith

The replaced sink sits in a girls bathroom. The sink was one of the items stolen in September due to the “devious lick” TikTok trend.

Noah Sparkman, Editor-in-Chief

During the last few months, there has been a flurry of TikToks promoting dangerous behavior in school. Those trends have found their way to Hayes.
In September, videos went viral where students across America stole school property, saying that they committed “devious licks.” Later that month, several items, such as sinks and chairs, disappeared from Hayes.
“I think people are doing what they are seeing in the world right now,” assistant principal Rex Reeder said.
Many students at the school are on TikTok, and the videos have reached a large audience. In previous years, it may not have been possible for them to spread so quickly.
“I think that students using their phones and the medium of video to do wrong is a cost of the availability and the temptation of video,” video production and communication teacher Thomas Hering said.
With new challenges like “slap a teacher month” beginning for October, Hayes administrators felt the need to take action.
“99% of our students think the trends are ridiculous,” principal Ric Stranges said. “But there’s a few students who take it to heart, and try to act on the challenge, so I’ve informed parents what is going on.”
This has resulted in several emails notifying parents and students of the trends, as well as the punishment that will result if students choose to engage in these activities.
“We will protect our staff,” Stranges said. “I want parents to know that if anything does happen, we will press charges.”
This is a threat that most students know holds weight, but some still are not grasping the severity of the situation.
“Kids don’t realize the actual danger they’re in if they do that stuff,” senior Lucas McKeen said. “All of those things are felonies, and you lose a lot if you have a felony.”
However, the school is hoping not to have to use these punishments, and administrators would much rather sort out the issue before any action occurs.
The first of these efforts was an email sent out by Stranges detailing several more positive trends that students could engage in. He coined the ideas “RikTok.”
“Instead of keeping it negative, I thought ‘you know, let’s turn this into a positive’,” Stranges said. “Let’s give them some positive things to do.”
In addition, resource officers were sent into some House rooms to discuss the trends with students.
However, the belief is that the burden is ultimately on students to make meaningful change, and building administrators are encouraging them to start discussions with one another.
“Do the right thing, talk about it, get your viewpoint out, try to make change,” Reeder said.
The school wants leaders to emerge in the student base, and to help reclaim Hayes’ culture.
“Students can either be followers or leaders right now,” Reeder said. “Take your choice.”
Ultimately, the school wants to move forward from the situation and improve as a whole because of it. Administrators are going to make sure that they have not faced this adversity for no reason.
“The more of us that can get together and speak openly about it, and care about each other, the faster this will go,” Hering said. “If we say ‘that’s just some thing stupid that freshmen do’, we miss the opportunity to help each other learn and grow. I think this is an opportunity for growth and community, even out of this stupid TikTok trend.