Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Jared Cordon is asking parents to take note of a new social media trend that’s asking students to vandalize schools and even assault teachers.
Students around the country have been influenced by a TikTok challenge called “devious licks.” The challenge asks students to take part a new type of destructive activity — often criminal activity — each month.
In September, the challenge was to vandalize their school bathrooms.
This month, the TikTok challenge has escalated to asking students to “smack a staff member.”
Upcoming challenges will reportedly involve activities that range from “jabbing a breast” to stealing eggs.
Just over a week into October, no Roseburg students have assaulted staff members, Cordon told The News-Review Friday. However, there have been some bathroom vandalism incidents.
The challenges initially were posted on TikTok under the hashtag #deviouslicks. “Lick” is a slang term for theft.
Some students around the country have committed crimes at school in response to the challenges. TikTok subsequently removed searches under that hashtag. However, kids found a way around that and searches using similar terms still lead to videos of school bathroom vandalism on the site.
A spokesperson for the Roseburg Public Schools District said Roseburg High School has had a handful of incidents involving damage to bathroom paper towel, soap and toilet paper dispensers.
School officials identified most of the culprits. One student was cited by police for criminal mischief. Some of the students were required to pay restitution to the school.
A few similar incidents were reported at Joseph Lane Middle School and at Fremont Middle School.
Roseburg High School Principal Jill Weber said in an email the majority of the school’s students have taken a stand against the behavior and have reported incidents to adults.
“They recognize that this behavior is unacceptable and that damage to school bathrooms means less access to necessary supplies such as items needed for good hand hygiene, which remains extremely important as the pandemic continues,” Weber said.
“I’m confident that this trend will fade away so that we can remain focused on the wonderful achievements our students are making every day in our school,” she said.
Cordon also said it’s important to remember that the vast majority of Roseburg students are not involved in “devious licks” behavior.
However, he said this is an opportunity for parents to think about how much social media their kids — and they themselves — are consuming and what effect it’s having on them.
It’s not uncommon, he said, for kids to spend five, six or seven hours a day on TikTok and other social media.
It’s not enough, he said, for adults to just blame trends like this on “kids these days.”
“As adults we need to say what can we do to help kids understand, and how do we be more proactive in helping kids understand there’s a better way,” he said.
Adults can help guide kids toward more productive ways to socialize, such as volunteering, and help them understand why behaviors like “smacking” a staff member aren’t OK.
“What we have to do is teach the why behind why we don’t do that. Well, because that’s called assault and you get arrested, that’s why,” he said.
Cordon said in general Roseburg schools try to work with students who do something wrong.
“My philosophy is we’re always looking for a change in behavior instead of a pound of flesh from a kid,” he said.
But with the “devious licks” challenges escalating to physical violence, the approach would be different.
“I have no tolerance for behavior that puts other kids or staff at risk, period. I don’t have a tolerance for that,” he said.
Darrell Orth knew a little something about Pete’s Drive-in when he decided to buy it five years ago. After all, Orth had worked there cutting french fries from the sixth through the eighth grade.
In part, it was that connection to the historic drive-in, which dates back to the 1960s, that prompted Orth and his wife Andrea to buy the restaurant, located at 1270 W. Harvard Ave. But it was also his desire to preserve a part of Roseburg history.
“It was for sale and I knew someone would buy it for the property and tear it down. So I bought it to save it,” Orth said.
Business has been good, in some ways, too good, he said. The restaurant has grown so much over the last few years that Orth said he has precious little time to spend with his family. So he has put Pete’s up for sale and hopes a new buyer will step forward to keep the legacy going.
“I thought it was going to be my mellow retirement income, but it’s just been a lot more successful than I ever imagined. I created a monster,” Orth said. “I’m looking for the next caretaker of Pete’s, just like I took over and called myself the caretaker. Because Pete’s is up and stronger than ever.”
Orth is not alone. Pete’s is among a handful of restaurants that have been offered for sale in the last few months. The list includes Tomaselli’s Pastry Mill & Café in Elkton, The Steamboat Inn in Idleyld Park, and Brix Grill, The Parrott House and Little Jean’s Sandwich Shop in Roseburg.
Restaurant owners who are selling give myriad reasons for that decision — some want to retire, while others simply want a career change. Those who own their buildings and perhaps adjacent property may be taking advantage of a hot real estate market.
And there is COVID-19 and its rippled effects, which have turned the restaurant industry on its head and made an already difficult business more challenging. That is reflected in a recent poll of restaurant owners in Oregon, said Greg Astley, a spokesperson for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, which represents about 2,000 restaurants and 1,200 hotels in the state.
The poll showed that 90% of Oregon restaurant owners say they have higher labor costs than pre-COVID-19, 83% are paying more for food and other operating costs, 77% are paying more for rent and utilities and 71% are understaffed, Astley said.
And those struggles have dimmed the outlook of those restaurant owners, according to the poll. Some 41% of those Oregon restaurant owners polled said it will be a year or more before business returns to normal at their establishment, and 20% of the owners said things will never be the same.
“After years and in some cases decades of running a restaurant you see the challenges and uncertainty and you might step back and say, ‘We’ve had a good run, maybe it’s time to step away,’” Astley said.
‘TIMING IS EVERYTHING’Last month, Tomaselli’s Pastry Mill & Café, that venerable Umpqua Highway stop for a pastry on the way to the coast or perhaps a pizza or dinner special on the return drive, announced it was changing hands, and possibly in danger of closing.
The restaurant, located at 14836 Umpqua Highway in Elkton, has been open for 40 years. But owners Marty and Dayna Tomaselli said it was time to hang up the aprons and relax. They have put the family bakery/restaurant up for sale.
Marty Tomaselli posted the following note on the restaurant’s website. It said, in part:
“With this COVID thing changing the way we are allowed to do business, it has been very challenging to stay in the game. As a matter of fact, all that time at home has made us realize that 40 years is long enough for us to be in business. We had such a wonderful time at home playing in the garden, building a chicken coop, planting an orchard, that we have decided to retire at the end of October. Yes that is correct, I am hanging up my apron for good!
“We have been trying to sell the business for quite some time now and are tired of waiting for that to happen. We had decided to just close the doors and sell off everything and then to sell the land & building and just enjoy all the time we have remaining in this life at home with no more worries. But alas, my crew was not ready to retire so they have decided to keep things going until we can find the right person to come in and buy the place.”
In August, Brix Grill, 527 SE Jackson St., Roseburg, was put on the market. Owner Misty Russell posted a message on the restaurant’s Facebook page explaining the move:
“We have been blessed with the opportunity to create and operate a successful, thriving business for many years … With that said, we have always had other jobs, hobbies and goals and have decided the time is right in our lives to put other interests on the forefront … We are looking for a buyer that is equally as passionate about the industry and serving a kick-ass community. We are excited to pass along a very viable opportunity with tons of untapped growth, at the ready, for the next vision, to the right party.”
And in June, Heidi Lael, owner of the historic Parrott House restaurant in Roseburg, put the restaurant up for sale, saying she wanted to take advantage of the hot real estate market. The 1890s-era Victorian house at 1581 SE Stephens St. covers 5,816 square feet and sits on 2.36 acres.
“I love my beautiful Parrott, but timing is everything,” Lael said at the time. “Anybody out there will tell you the real estate market is on fire. I’ve owned the Parrott for a long time and yes, it’s my baby. But I have other properties in the area too.”
Leal has owned the property for a decade and spent years renovating it. She had some bumps and growth spurts along the way. In the fall of 2018, The Parrott House closed for maintenance, repairs and a kitchen overhaul. Then in 2020, Lael was forced to close it for six months due to COVID-19, and in doing so, lost most of her two dozen employees. The restaurant reopened later that summer but then was forced to close again in the fall due to a state mandate.
Also for sale is The Steamboat Inn, a historic lodge that features a renowned, upscale restaurant. Owners Travis and Melinda Woodward have owned the Inn, located at 42705 N Umpqua Hwy in Idleyld Park, for four years. During that time the couple had to endure three wildfires — including the historic 2020 Archie Creek Fire — and a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down operations for essentially an entire season.
Orth, the owner of Pete’s Drive-in, acknowledges that COVID-19 has presented a unique set of challenges for his business, including finding enough employees.
“Like every other restaurant that you talk to right now it’s hard to staff, and that wears out the employees that you do have,” Orth said.
Yet Orth said, in general, he has been happy with his experience owning and running Pete’s, and building it up to the success that it is.
“I’m not selling because I have to,” Orth said. “Some restaurants are at the end, where they need to get out so they don’t lose a bunch of money. I just want to go fishing.”
A Douglas County woman who said she became so sick after drinking a tainted cup of coffee from the 7-Eleven in Winston that she had to be rushed to the emergency room, has filed a civil complaint against the corporation and the local franchise owner.
Tara Frost filed her complaint in Douglas County Circuit Court on Wednesday. She is seeking nearly $50,000, according to the complaint filed by her Sutherlin attorney, Danny Lang.
The defendants are listed as 7-Eleven, and Queen Sharma Inc., the franchisee of the Winston store, located at 50 NW Main St.
According to the complaint, on Feb. 22, 2020, Frost bought a coffee from the store and shortly after drinking the coffee she got sick. Frost returned to the store and told the clerk she had gotten sick from the coffee. Frost then learned that the coffee she had consumed had been contaminated by the presence of a commercial chemical cleaning agent known as PAKZ, a cleanser for coffee machines, the complaint said.
The remaining coffee was disposed of after Frost complained about it.
Frost got so sick from drinking the tainted coffee that she had to go to the emergency room at CHI Mercy Medical Center for treatment, the complaint said. Frost was “unable to function normally” and suffered “extremely painful disabling symptoms and injuries” to her mouth, throat and esophagus.
The “permanent disabling injuries and symptoms” require Frost to take daily prescription medication for her digestive system injuries, the complaint said.
Serving Frost coffee with cleaning solvent in it violated Oregon statutes, which requires that “food dispensed, transported, sold, held for sale, stored, salvaged or displayed, is not filthy, decomposed, putrid, unsafe, contaminated, deleterious to health, unfit, unwholesome, unclean, insanitary or diseased,” according to the complaint.
Both defendants knew or should have known of the dangers of serving tainted coffee “by reason of prior similar incidents experienced by food and beverage industry retailers, such as 7-Eleven,” yet did not take appropriate steps to mitigate such potential danger, the complaint said.
The complaint also alleges that 7-Eleven and Queen Sharma Inc. were negligent in a half-dozen ways, including:
The complaint seeks $25,000, representing noneconomic damages for “severe physical pain and emotional distress, and loss of function,” another $22,353 for medical expenses, and attorney fees and court costs.
Neither defendant had been formally served with the complaint as of Friday afternoon. The 7-Eleven corporation, which is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, did not return a message seeking comment for this story.
The president of Queen Sharma, Inc., is listed as Saherra Smith, according to documents filed with the Oregon Secretary of State. Smith could not be reached for comment. A person who answered the phone at the 7-Eleven store in Winston and identified themself as a manager declined to comment.
Attorney Danny Lang also declined to comment.