Devious lick trend reflects the reputation of Mason High School

Abby Waechter | Managing Editor

Think before you act. We’re taught this moral code before we can even walk, yet some people have taken to bathrooms and doorways to show off their most devious licks.

A “devious lick”, according to Urban Dictionary, is a “cunning or clever type of theft which results in an acceptable, impressive and rewarding payday for someone.” This trend of stealing and committing acts of vandalism first surfaced on the social media platform TikTok when students around the country started posting videos of them flaunting what they had taken from classrooms and bathrooms.

At first, students at Mason High School (MHS) did not react, but the trend was still on the school resource officers’ radars. Scott Lyons and Matt Kimbrell, the MHS school resource officers, said that social media has often been the factor to start odd trends and that they are briefed on them as they arise. Kimbrell said that although the devious lick trend is not new in the fact that it has arisen from social media, it has left a legacy as one of the most outrageous trends.

“It’s hard to control social media and the trends that people are doing,” Kimbrell said. “There’s always this kind of stuff every year, not [as] condensed, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.”

Even though there have been a multitude of incidents, it is important to recognize that we are not all culprits. Teachers, administrators, resource officers and custodians know that we are not all to blame for a few people’s actions. MHS Principal Bobby Dodd said that the school’s staff realizes that most of the students are innocent and shouldn’t have to sacrifice at the hands of a few.

“The majority of the kids we have here are amazing,” Dodd said. “But unfortunately, one percent doesn’t care and they’re just going to do what they want to do.”

At the root of the issue, the problem isn’t the trends themselves, but it’s the people who are carrying out these trends. To understand what these perpetrators were thinking at the time of the acts, we have to put ourselves in their place to truly understand. The only reasoning that I, and those who were interviewed, could come up with was the desire for attention. Dodd said that he felt that part of the problem with these acts fell on him as he feels he is tasked with bringing us closer together.

“I’ve been thinking that some of this is on me a little bit when it comes to building culture as a leader,” Dodd said. “If we have a strong enough culture here where we let kids know that ‘hey, you matter and the likes on social media don’t make you the person that you’re going to be when you leave here,’ then things like this wouldn’t happen.”

Mason is huge, how are you supposed to stand out? If everyone is hyperfocused on the one video from MHS that is being circulated, how do you get noticed?

You commit another devious lick and continue the cycle.

You don’t think about the people who come after you to clean up your mess or those who need to go to the bathroom and wash their hands during passing periods. You only focus on the likes, the views, the fandom.

Well, it is time for you to realize that you don’t need social media for attention. You matter, everyone here matters, but we don’t need to destroy property to understand that.

It’s time for all of us to take a look at ourselves and realize just how lucky we are.

There are so many opportunities that we can take to get the most out of our high school experience, and, most of the time, we don’t know the sacrifices that are taken to get there. For example, look at the custodial staff. Mel Wynn and Barry Hensley are two of the most well-known janitors at MHS, and are incredibly hard-working.

On a normal day, the staff will start early in the morning to set up the large commons for the breakfast and lunches, then will move on to the “work calls,” which are the tasks that pop up during the day like replacing pencil sharpeners, hanging ceiling tiles, or cleaning up a spill in the hallway. This is followed by getting the packages that are delivered throughout the day, then cleaning the large commons in between lunches, then collapsing tables and cleaning the floors once lunch has concluded. Then, the night shift comes in and cleans every individual classroom pod and their bathrooms.

Since the devious lick trend has started, Wynn’s work orders have “tripled.”

Wynn said that like any staff during the COVID-19 Pandemic, that it has been hard to keep a consistent staff, but that they have also sacrificed for the good of the students.

This team of custodians is working three times harder for us. There are fewer of them so that we can get more. We are so lucky, and sometimes we don’t even realize that.

Even the things that all of us participate in affect the jobs of the custodial staff. Barry Hensley, an MHS alumni, said that even the ‘bottle flipping trend brought a lot of stress and work to the custodial staff.

“A few years ago, the bottle-flipping trend was driving me nuts with the number of spills we had,” Hensley said. “People didn’t even think about the number of sticky liquids that they would leave on the tables and floors.”

Have some empathy for the people that come after you, it’s time to realize that the world does not revolve around us.

Instead of circulating pointless rumors about what pod bathroom is going to be “hit” next, we need to realize the power of ourselves. We all have the power to speak up and tell someone to stop, we all have the physical ability to pick up a piece of trash on the ground, we all have that voice in the back of our head telling us to do the right thing.

Now it’s time to actually do the right thing.

If a kid is tearing a soap dispenser off the wall, tell them to stop. It’s not difficult.

If you see a piece of garbage on the ground, do not keep kicking it around. Pick it up– most likely there’s a garbage can two feet away. There is no need to be kicking a piece of paper all the way to Z pod so an exhausted custodian can pick it up, just do it yourself. It takes two seconds of your life.

Listen to your conscience. The voice in your head is there for a reason. It’s the same one that tells us to not jump off a cliff, to not put our hands on a burning stove–to do the right thing.

We are not above the custodians. We are privileged children who are lucky enough to have a caring custodial staff
who are willing to fix what we have left in ruin because there is one person who needs it.

We are good people. Most of us haven’t destroyed school property, but the reputation reflects on the student body as a whole. For that, I am embarrassed. We need to do better, it’s time to grow up and start caring for what’s around us.

We need to reciprocate in the building of a new culture here at Mason, and understand that it won’t happen overnight or with the click of a button.

Progress requires all of us to change, and I don’t think that implementing a little bit of empathy is too much to ask.