Leave it to TikTok to encourage the spread of stupidity, yet again. Apparently, the latest trend being spread over the popular social media site has been encouraging its users to film themselves stealing or destroying school property. And this "challenge" could mean major trouble for school students who take part.

Just this week, USA Today posted a feature article about the new "Devious Licks Challenge," stating many students across the nation are facing criminal charges because of the trend.

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"Begun earlier this month on the TikTok social media platform as students returned to school, students began posting videos of themselves stealing items from schools – from soap dispensers and fire extinguishers to computers and film projectors. In some cases, students have vandalized bathrooms."

Unfortunately, the trend has found its way to Maine. Most recently the administration at Mattanawcook Academy issued a statement to families, asking them to speak to their kids about the challenge, and encourage their kids not to take part in it.

Mattanawcook Academy Principal Matt Arsenault wrote to parents after one soap dispenser was damaged and stolen from a bathroom at the school.

"...We are asking for your help. Please talk to your students and emphasize that these actions can result in serious repercussions...These actions can include criminal charges and restitution to cover monetary damages, as well as disciplined outlines in the Mattanawcook Academy's code of conduct."

Regrettably, this behavior has not been an isolated issue. Similar situations have been reported in schools across the state.

Bottom line; this is where parents have to be hands-on and involved and make sure their children know this is unacceptable behavior.

As much as the idea of learning about what your kids are watching and taking part in online is something none of us want to deep-dive into...it's up to us to make sure we know what and who they're being influenced by and make sure they know there are and will be consequences to behavior that's destructive and dangerous.

I put it to my kids this way: is 30 seconds of fame worth a lifetime of pain? Because I will NEVER let you live it down if you end up choosing to destroy something or hurt someone as part of an internet challenge. Understand that.

Hopefully, these kids will learn their lessons, and not the hard way.

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