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At Least Three Students Arrested For New TikTok Challenge In Tampa Bay Area

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Local school districts are asking students to not participate in a new TikTok trend, called "Devious Licks," in which students vandalize parts of schools and post it online.

Officials say three students in Polk County have already arrested for participating in the trend.

Alicia Manautou, Polk County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, says "If you're in Polk County and you choose to participate in this particular TikTok challenge, this 'Devious Lick Challenge,' you're also choosing to be arrested."

It's a challenge in which students vandalize schools and post videos of the prank on TikTok, and it's become very popular in schools all over the country.

Erin Maloney, Hillsborough County Schools Spokesperson, says "Kids look at social media and they see their friends doing things and they think it's funny but it's serious, you can get in trouble."

Maloney says the trend has skyrocketed in the last two weeks.

"We've seen about 15 to 20 cases of vandalism within our schools and we can attribute it to that TikTok trend."

Leaders in both Hillsborough County and Polk County say they've seen most of the challenges happen in school bathrooms.

"Pulling the soap dispensers out of the bathroom, taking fire extinguishers and putting them somewhere else," said Maloney.

"We've had soap dispensers and sinks damaged at this point in time," said Manautou.

Manautou says three students who have participated in the challenge are now being charged with theft and criminal mischief.

"When you participate in something that's damaging school property that tax payers have paid for, then you've crossed that line and gone into a criminal act," said Manautou.

She says these situations can have live-long affects.

"It could cause them to be removed from band or any other extracurricular activities they have. It could also potentially impact their ability to get a job," said Manautou.

Maloney says instead of contacting the police, the district is connecting students to guidance counselors and deciding to suspend students on a case by case basis.

"We really don't want to ruin a kids life over what they perceive to be a prank. Our goal is to really educate them and let them know they are making bad choices and while this may seem like it's funny because your friends might be doing it online, vandalism is serious and we are going to treat it that way," said Maloney.

School officials are asking parents to talk with their kids about the trend and how it could impact their future.

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