Devious Licks and Destruction


“Nobody did this stuff before,” Dean of Students Glenna Stiles shared when asked about the rise of bathroom vandalism at Ashland High School (AHS). According to Stiles, the record-high levels of vandalism may be attributed to the effects of Covid-19. “Many students were living a quasi Lord Of the Flies existence.” Some students were isolated and living in chaos and disorganization without the level of supervision and structure that school usually provides. The destruction, although devastating, is not entirely surprising. Students who live with in-stability and are frustrated sometimes take out their anger on school property, leaving damages that cost the school as much as $20,000. This money could go toward hiring another educational assistant, buying new library books, or more school supplies. Instead, it will be needed to repair unnecessary damage. A 2021 viral TikTok challenge called “devious licks” encouraged students to steal and damage school property. Although devious licks became popular in September, some students continue its legacy. Glenna Stiles, Dean of Students, believed that this challenge is partially to blame for the proliferation of vandalism at AHS, and students agree. A student who wished to remain anonymous explained that “TikTok is a big influence the majority of students are on it.” The student went on to express frustration with the students involved in the destruction, “it’s for the shock value…it’s not funny, it’s actually causing damage.” Stiles is not infuriated with students who vandalized the bathrooms. She is empathetic toward the struggle of adolescents finding their way in the unprecedented time of Covid. “I want to catch them, not to punish them, but to embrace them.” Stiles is doing her best to support students and not create a culture of shame and guilt. At the time of writing this article, most bathrooms are open. Only 2 remain closed: The bath-rooms by the dungeon, and on the 2nd story of theHumanities building. The short-staffed AHS custodial team could not keep up with their regular tasks and cleaning up vandalism, so some bathrooms had to be closed to minimize the potential for destruction. For many students, closed bathrooms mean depleted valuable class time because often the nearest bathroom is locked. Students groan about elongated walks to the bathroom as they arrive late to class and it is a common occurrence for students to mutter obscenities in the halls after finding the nearest bathroom locked. In the open bathrooms, crows congregate in front of the stalls. This is especially concerning due to the threat of Covid-19. Vandalism impacts the culture of AHS making some students feel unsafe at school. Under the guidance of Francisco Atanes, Assistant Principal at AHS, students have created an anonymous tip line to report vandalism. “See Something, Say Something” is a leadership campaign created to deter vandalism so that the bathrooms can stay open. There is a plan to reopen one bathroom each week if the vandalism ceases. Stiles is optimistic that students will do the right thing and stop destroying school property. If you see something, say something by texting (541) 951-2045.