A screenshot taken from social media platform TikTok showing a school bathroom where the toilet has been removed by students attempting to achieve ‘likes’ during the ‘Devious Licks’ challenge. Students who are caught causing damages to school property run the risk of expulsion, charges and potential fines. (Courtesy photo TikTok)

By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

For many Soldiers and their Families, the social media platform TikTok is entertaining and a chance to team up with friends and family members to get creative and make a short video and share with the platforms 1 billion users.

Challenges pop up on the platform almost daily that range from funny and creative to downright dangerous and disgusting.

Over the past two years those challenges have included “Yah Trick Yah” dance challenge, ALS ice bucket challenge, Tide Pod eating challenge, milk crate climbing challenge and the newest challenge where middle and high school students destroy or steal personal and school property … most notably the destruction of bathrooms.

The trend is called “Devious Licks.”

According to Fort Jackson’s military police, the most devious part of the challenge is the consequences students face should they be caught.

“On Fort Jackson, they (students) are subject to appear before the Juvenile Review

Board and the results of their actions range from community service to debarment from the installation,” said Raymond “Ray” Smith, deputy director of Fort Jackson’s Directorate of Emergency Services. “In the unlikely event they are barred from the installation, it would require the family to move off-post and create a host of issues for

the family.”

On the low end of the spectrum, caught students who live off-post can face suspension and academic probation. On the steeper end, students and their parents can face hefty fines for damages, expulsion from school, criminal charges, court ordered community service or probation, and even incarceration at a juvenile detention center in the most severe of cases.

Any of the aforementioned consequences can have long term effects on a student to include not being accepted into high demand colleges, elimination of certain career opportunities due to a criminal record, and become ineligible for financial aid or scholarships and grants.

If caught, the licks challenge can haunt a student’s entire future.

According to the Department of Defense Education Activity Americas, Fort Jackson schools haven’t encountered “licks” at either Pierce Terrace or C.C. Pinckney Elementary Schools.

However, Richland School District 2 where most Fort Jackson middle and high school students attend has seen some of the damages resulting from the challenge.

“We’ve seen a hand dryer ripped off the wall … trashing the bathroom. Toilet paper everywhere,” said Chief Operations Officer Will Anderson, Richland District Two during a recent interview with Columbia South Carolina’s News19. “The sheer volume of soap dispensers is probably the biggest thing. See(ing) the harsh repercussions to that, hopefully (students) won’t do it again.”

TikTok is also helping battle the destructive challenge by deleting content that portrays the challenge and directing those searching to communication messaging.

“We’re removing content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your school and teachers,” said the TikTokComms post.

While most parents agree that school should be a fun experience, children should also be concerned about making decisions that could harm their futures.

Parents can easily search the internet for current challenges to help them keep an eye out for challenges that could result in injury or criminal charges. Talking to their children about the outcomes of participating in such challenges and following their children’s social media platforms are a few ways parents can help keep their children safe.

Parents need to make sure they talk to their students, said Fort Jackson’s Provost Marshall Maj. John T. Ferrell. ‘Five minutes of TikTok fame’ is not worth the lasting criminal record that will follow and the disruption it will cause their whole family.