HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) — You’ve probably seen TikTok challenges people have been undertaking on video this year – and some of them have been downright dangerous.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Tuesday night, the newest challenge involves vandalism – and even assault.READ MORE: Kenosha County Sheriff's Deputy Shoots Chicago Homicide Suspect At Bristol Gas Station; Suspect Shot Police K-9 During Confrontation
One school-based challenge now circulating on TikTok known as “Devious Licks” is encouraging students to vandalize school bathrooms and post their actions. It is resulting in serious damage – one video showed a paper towel dispenser destroyed, a stall door wrecked, a sink lying on the floor, and ceiling tiles missing in a boys’ restroom.
“We’ve seen some purple glue on a toilet seat,” said North Shore School District 112 Supt. Michael Lubelfeld.
Lubelfeld, whose district includes multiple schools in Highland Park and one in Highwood, is just one of many school administrators dealing with the challenge and the fallout.
“We’ve been getting alerts, and we’ve been hearing about this – and our middle school principals and associate principals and teachers were aware of it,” Lubelfeld said.
CBS 2 began looking into the latest TikTok push after getting a tip from a northwest suburban schoolteacher who is concerned about an October challenge – which is to slap a teacher.
“This is something I can’t and will not go along with,” she wrote us.READ MORE: Milixen Ardon And Wilfredo Cruz Charged With Murder Of 2-Year-Old Alisson Zelayz, Who Suffered Burns And Bruises In Chicago Lawn
Meanwhile, New Trier High School in Winnetka sent a note to families bringing up TikTok, and resulting reports of “trashed bathrooms.” The high school also informed families that police have been notified and officials will “pursue strong disciplinary action” if a student is caught.
“This is criminal behavior. Vandalism is criminal behavior. Touching another human being inappropriately is criminal behavior. Using fire extinguishers in the middle of a class for a joke is criminal behavior,” said Professor Brian Uzzi of the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, “So I think TikTok really needs to be must more forceful and needs to shut this down as fast as possible.”
But TikTok is not doing so. If you search for the challenge, a disclaimer may pop up saying it is against TikTok’s policy.
Uzzi said that is not enough.
“It’s like trying to get like a herd of buffalo to stop because you’re telling them, ‘Please don’t do this,’” he said.
Uzzi said, generally speaking, under U.S. law – no company is allowed to profit from criminal activity – in a school or otherwise. That raises the question of whether TikTok could ultimately be considered an accomplice.
So what do the folks at TikTok have to say about this? Nothing yet. We sent them an email with a detailed list of questions – but as of Tuesday night, there was silence. We will be following up.MORE NEWS: Two Chicago Police Officers Wounded By Accidental Friendly Fire While Confronting Suspect In Lyons, Police Say
In Florida, at least nine students were arrested and charged with vandalism at one high school. Their parents also had to pay for the more than $2,000 in damages.