Four people were arrested in Pennsylvania for causing more than $10,000 of damage to school buses, after they posted their activities on TikTok.
In a statement shared to social media, Littlestown police said they believe the damage was inflicted as part of a TikTok challenge that encourages users to vandalize school property. The arrested individuals aren’t students in the Littlestown Area School District, whose buses were damaged.
Borough Police Chief Charles Kellar said the group has been accused of causing the damage to the buses early on Sunday morning, as well as damaging property at several homes.
The accused include an adult, 19-year-old Carter Davenport, and three juveniles. They were identified from posts on TikTok showing their activities.
According to an email sent to families within the district, as per CBS 21, the suspects discharged the fire extinguishers on more than 15 vehicles.
They were arrested on charges of institutional vandalism, criminal trespass, theft from a motor vehicle, criminal mischief and loitering. The three minors were charged and referred to Adams County Juvenile Probation, while Davenport received $10,000 bail.
Kellar wrote in the statement: “This so-called challenge which has been appearing on TikTok encourages kids to cause damage to property and specifically mentions school property as a potential target. It then suggests that they post their activities on social media documenting the damage they caused as well as items they stole as trophies to the challenge.”
Similarly, Littlestown Area School District Superintendent Christopher Bigger released a statement, as per CBS21, on the challenge, writing: “TikTok and Social Media challenges encouraging individuals to break the law or injure themselves must stop now.
“Thank goodness for our wonderful bus drivers and transportation employees for acting swiftly to remediate a situation that could have easily closed school. They all pulled together on a Sunday to take care of business. Thanks to the LASD police department for catching the individuals by the afternoon on the same day. It was nice to hear the individuals were not LASD students. This makes me a proud administrator to know our students would not act so carelessly.”
The TikTok challenge in question is the banned “Devious Licks” trend, which encourages users to steal and damage property from schools, and document it online.
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It began in September, but spiralled across the U.S. as high school students went viral with their activities. Students were documented performing mild misdemeanours including stealing face masks, and more seriously, destroying bathrooms and removing fire alarms from walls.
The challenge was banned by TikTok shortly after, with “#deviouslicks” no longer appearing on the app.
In a statement to Newsweek, a spokesperson for TikTok said: “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.”
According to CBS21, the buses had to be cleaned by a professional company before they could be used, and new extinguishers were immediately required in order for them to be road certified.
Thanks to the help of a parent with connections to a provider company, the buses were back on the road for Monday.
Newsweek has contacted Christopher Bigger for comment.
A file photo of yellow school buses.