Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan / CC & Public Domain
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Across Middle Tennessee, school districts have expressed their concerns about the link between social media and student behavior that leads to vandalism. On Wednesday, the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System sent an email to parents about specific trends found on TikTok.
According to Fox 17, the “devious licks” challenge is spreading through Tennessee schools and involves damaging, destroying, or stealing school property.
CMCSS said there have already been over one hundred incidents in the past few weeks, totaling $20,000 in damages. A urinal was completely ripped off the wall in one school, according to Fox 17.
Specific teachers have been targeted as well and had their belongings stolen. One teacher had $200 worth of their property destroyed during one incident.
Williamson and Wilson County school leaders have voiced their concerns before about this particular trend and the damages it causes.
Montgomery County sheriff, John Fuson, is warning both students and parents that there will be “serious consequences” for those that damage school property.
“These social media challenges may appear to be harmless or fun to an adolescent, but what parents need to clearly understand is that these thoughtless actions will come with serious consequences,” Fuson said.
CMCSS is working with the sheriff’s department in prosecuting responsible students. According to Fox, dozens of students have already faced fines and restitution.
“These thoughtless acts must stop,” the school district said in a recent statement. “We are asking parents and guardians to please talk to their children about online safety, appropriate behaviors, and consequences for criminal behaviors and offenses in the Student Code of Conduct.”
FOX 17 News recently spoke with a Mt. Juliet principal, who said the expenses for repairs are coming straight from taxpayers.
In Williamson County, schools have had toilets clogged with paper towels, soap dispensers pulled off the walls, and more.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said they will have zero tolerance for any vandalism incidents.
WCSO Captain Leonardo Zollicoffer said, “Our SROs will investigate each incident of vandalism and destruction of property and will prosecute any offenders to the fullest extent allowed by law.”
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The school district is also asking parents to talk about the possible consequences of these actions with their children.
“At this time, we have seen this destruction in a handful of our high schools,” Safety and Security Director Michael Fletcher told Fox 17. “While there may only be a few students involved, it is impacting students and staff throughout these buildings. We need our parents to work with us to stop this bad behaviour before it starts.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn has spoken out about the harmful effect of social media on children since early this year. Blackburn and Senator Richard Blumenthal were part of the Thursday hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms.”
“Mark Zuckerberg’s guiding principle for Facebook is profit,” Blackburn said a few days before the hearing. “The platform was fully aware that Facebook had serious and harmful issues. Young girls’ risk of suicide increased, human trafficking thrived on the site, and cartels gloated about their killings. I look forward to Facebook answering these very serious allegations before the Consumer Protection Subcommittee. I appreciate Senator Blumenthal’s leadership and bipartisan approach on this matter, and look forward to continuing to work closely with him.”
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com