BDS and BCSO hold joint press conference over continued school vandalism

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Devious Licks Challenge is apparently still very much alive in local schools. The viral Tik Tok trend is challenging students to vandalize their school’s bathroom. This story is still developing after another incident that happened Thursday morning, leading to a joint press conference with Bay District School officials and Bay County Sheriffs officials.

A Mosley High School bathroom fell victim to the viral Devious Licks Tik Tok challenge Thursday morning.

“This morning again we had the sink that was kicked off and broke everywhere and we had to take all of our attention from the normal schoolhouse procedures to take care of this issue,” Mosley High School Principal Brian Bullock said.

An issue that officials said has escalated over the past couple of days in more than a dozen Bay District middle and high schools.

“We’re not going to tolerate this level of destruction,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.

Officials said the destruction is creating chaos in the schools not only financially but also in the instructional process.

“It’s not funny. It’s costly. It’s damaging to our schools,” said Ford.

Now they want to warn students that if they don’t stop this trend, there will be consequences.

“In addition, there’s going to be some ramifications on the school level as well. These students are going to be subject to removal from their home zone school and placed in an alternative program or alternative school. We must protect those that are doing the right thing,” District Executive Director of Operations Josh Balkom said.

The district and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office are working closely together for a zero-tolerance approach. Ford said criminal mischief can rise to a felony charge if it reaches more than a thousand dollars in damage.

“It doesn’t take a lot to reach that felony-level threshold. Technically a felony is punishable by imprisonment over a year. It works a little bit differently in the juvenile system, but still, you carry that felony-level penalty for the rest of your life,” said Ford.

“Parents please assist us, have these talks with your children, pay attention to what they’re doing on social media, take a look at their phones, their computers and assist us with this,” said Balkom.

Now the district wants to send a message to the students. Just be smart.

“And to choose the difference between right and wrong, that’s what our kids need to do. They just need to think before they act,” said Bullock.

Bullock said they have not found the video that was posted on Tik Tok of people damaging the Mosley bathroom. However, he said kids have come forward with names and information that has led to the person or persons who committed this crime. They’re offering a $500 reward for information that may lead to the arrests of students responsible.

Tik-Tok has since issued a statement regarding the trend:

“We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities. We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our community guidelines to discourage such behavior.”

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