School administrations and instructors are warning kids about a new TikTok craze and the potential penalties they may face if they participate.
According to Missouri television station KYTV, the “Slap a Teacher” challenge is believed to be related to the “Devious Lick” challenge, which includes kids stealing or destroying school property. Thus, employees have been attacked in two school districts thus far.
Letter Has Been Sent Out to Parents
On Tuesday, a kid participating in the challenge smacked a teacher in Springfield, Missouri, according to KYTV. In addition, according to a letter to parents sent out on Oct. 1, a South Carolina elementary school student assaulted “a teacher by hitting her in the back of the head.”
Lancaster County School District director Bryan Vaughn said in the letter that it is not a prank, just like stealing and property destruction. He also said in the letter that the assault on a staff person is an expellable crime, which means the student will be removed from the school for the remainder of the year, per MSN.
Furthermore, according to the statements of Vaughn in the letter, they provide that information to parents so that they may educate their children about the issue and keep track of their online activities. Thus, Vaughn and his colleagues also hope that parents would discuss the significant consequences of poor actions and peer pressure with their children.
Although KYTV stated that school police were involved in the reaction to the Missouri event, no more information regarding the children involved has been published.
TikTok Challenge May Lead to Expulsion
One TikTok video even addressed the possibility of expulsion for any pupils who take part in the challenge. “Good morning, students. I hear today is the first day of the slap-a-teacher challenge. I just wanted to reach out to those of you who plan to participate, and I wanted to wish you a great last day of school. Because after you slap a teacher, you’ll most likely be expelled. Well anyways, get out there and learn something you little rascals. Have a great day!” one TikTok user said in a video posted on Oct. 1, according to the Los Angeles Times.
TikTok spokesman tells PEOPLE in a statement that the alleged challenge would violate their standards, and they would aggressively delete such content. However, the spokesman also said that they had not discovered comparable content on their platform. Hence, the majority of individuals appear to be learning about the offline challenge through sources other than TikTok.
Nonetheless, a student offender may face significant repercussions, including expulsion or criminal prosecution, they also said, urging parents to have talks with their children about the serious implications that participation in any activity like this challenge could entail.
Teachers are On Guard
This week, the California Teachers Association posted their warning. Thus, they wrote in the post, “Educators beware! As if widespread vandalism in our schools last month wasn’t enough, the same ‘challenge’ circulating on social media networks TikTok and Twitter is now calling for students to ‘slap a staff member.'”
Even though the challenge is neither endorsed nor sanctioned by TikTok and doesn’t appear to have taken off extensively, they noted that it is vital to be mindful that kids in California may be pushed to participate by social media or their classmates. According to ABC affiliate WPLG, a similar letter from Florida’s Broward Instructors Union asked teachers to “watch your fellow educators’ backs” and report any violations to police.
Tiktok Should Be Accountable of the Irresponsible Contents
Attorney General William Tong of Connecticut has urged TikTok to commit to changes to end this irresponsible content. Furthermore, Tong wrote to the company’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, in a letter that families and educators are already dealing with the pandemic’s extraordinary social and emotional consequences. Thus, the last thing anyone needs right now is to bombard youngsters with targeted social media that encourages lawlessness, self-harm, and dangerous, risky pranks.
Nevertheless, Tong praised TikTok’s efforts to identify and delete ‘Devious Licks’ content from its platform. He also stated that “it should not take a countrywide school vandalism spree for TikTok to respond.
With recent reports of the ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge, it’s apparent that TikTok is powerless to stop harmful content from spreading. Simply put, whatever TikTok has been doing to enforce its terms of service hasn’t worked, and it needs to be reviewed and reformatted, according to Tong.
Furthermore, he added that “I respectfully request that you come to Connecticut to meet parents, educators, and myself to hear firsthand the impact your business has had on our communities, and to share with us what more you will do to protect our youth.”
TikTok responded by deleting videos and diverting hashtags and search results to their Community Guidelines page after the “Devious Lick” challenge went viral last month.
In addition, TikTok has collaborated with National PTA to create a guide for parents that outlines strategies for parents to ensure that their children are “responsible and safe.”