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TikTok challenge leads to vandalism at schools

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 9:31 PM EDT
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Sinks, soap dispensers to toilets are just some of the items that have been stolen from schools.

It's part of a challenge on the social media site TikTok that quickly spread with students.

So far, WPTV has confirmed incidents in both Martin and Palm Beach counties.

Kimberly Mallia, a certified school psychologist says she's heard about the challenge a few weeks ago. She says it's a sign of kids feeling disconnected.

"Children are feeling very isolated, they're feeling very disconnected due to COVID, due to quarantine, due to the high restrictions in the school even when they're allowed to be in school," she said.

That disconnect is having a major effect on a school district north of Tampa, Pasco County. They've had more than a dozen incidents with damage in the tens of thousands of dollars.

One student says things have gotten out of hand.

"Why would you do that? it's messing up your life because it's going to come with consequences, stealing, damaging property," he said.

TikTok has said it is working to remove the content and discourage such behavior.

Mallia says children may think their behavior may go unpunished.

"The fact that it's happening behind the scenes and in bathroom stalls and areas of low risk according to students it's safer, it's anonymous so they can be a part of something but not get in trouble," she said.

Parents have been asked to speak with their kids about this challenge and the possible legal issues a kid could face for vandalizing their school.

Scripps Only Content 2021