Devious Licks: Harmful Pranks or Harmless Fun

Teachers at AHS give their opinions about the social media fad that encourages students to vandalize/steal school property.

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Taliya James

English teacher Allison Berryhill’s pencil sharpener cover went missing over a month ago.

Dakota Oswalt

Devious licks, also known as diabolical or nefarious licks, are the newest TikTok trend, with ‘lick’ meaning to rob, steal, or otherwise abscond with others’ possessions. While some licks across the country are extreme, there have been minor-and not-so-minor–licks at Atlantic High School as well.

English teacher Randall Simpson has taken the task of catching devious lickers seriously, encouraging students to report things that have been stolen. Simpson said that it is really their own parents that kids are stealing from. “You are not stealing from the school. You are stealing things that your parent’s tax dollars pay for,” he said.

There needs to be a renewed level of respect for the items that are brought into the school.”

— Robert Astuni

Fellow English teacher Robert Astuni said the fad is a major sign of discourtesy. “There needs to be a renewed level of respect for the items that are brought into the school,” he said. Astuni thinks it is wrong in “every sense of the word,” and the trend is “only making things unnecessarily worse.” He said there were many items taken away without warning due to the recent fire at the middle school, making it unfair to keep stealing. So far, he has only had some books and a doorstop stolen from his room but he is unsure if it has anything to do with devious licks.

Agricultural teacher Eric Miller said he “can’t believe that anyone would be stupid enough to film themselves committing a crime.” While nothing has been stolen directly from his room, he still finds this to be an incredible offense. He said that anyone who participated in this trend “deserves to be arrested.”

Some teachers have been hit harder by the craze than others. Math teacher Lisa Sonntag has had multiple items stolen from her room including hall passes, batteries from calculators, and even cookies that she was saving for her seminar class. “I wouldn’t say they are ‘harmless,’ but they are annoying and in my case, ruined things for other students,” she said. 

Pullquote Photo

If someone came into a student’s house and did things like this, the student would be very upset and feel violated. It is happening at the school and many students think it is just a ‘harmless prank’ and can’t see the harm it is causing to what is supposed to be a learning environment.”

— Amber Moore

Instructional Coach Amber Moore said there is “never a reason to steal or destroy things,” and these “pranks” should never be considered funny. She believes that the recent theft and destruction of property happening in the school is “complicating the jobs of educators,” and could cause damage to the learning environment. “If someone came into a student’s house and did things like this, the student would be very upset and feel violated. It is happening at the school and many students think it is just a ‘harmless prank’ and can’t see the harm it is causing to what is supposed to be a learning environment,” Moore said.

Other objects that have been deviously licked from the school include student IDs from laptops, chairs, ceiling tiles, pencil sharpener covers, random desk decor, and the most “alarming” of all, a fire alarm beacon from one of the boys’ bathrooms. While most of these objects have since been returned, some are still missing with teachers still trying to get answers out of their students.