TikTok social media trainer slapping problem will get warning
Education officials across the state are urging teachers and school staff to warn of a troubling TikTok challenge that emerged this month, urging students to hit teachers while they are being videotaped.
“Educators, watch out!” The California Teachers Assn. – the largest and most politically influential teachers’ union in the state – launched on Tuesday. Regarding a previous TikTok trend, the memo says, “As if the widespread vandalism in our schools last month wasn’t enough, the same ‘challenge’ circulating on TikTok and Twitter social networks is now calling for the Student to hit a co-worker. ‘“
The slapping challenge, which reportedly started this month, has put educators across the country on high alert. So far, an elementary school teacher in South Carolina has been hit in the back of the head, the Lancaster County School District said.
Los Angeles’ Unified School District has not received any reports of students slapping teachers, but it has made school sites aware of the TikTok challenges, said Shannon Haber, a district spokeswoman.
The California Teachers Assn. warned that TikTok did not authorize or sponsor the challenge, which was not widely used before, “however, it is important to know that students here in California can be compelled to participate through social media or their peers.”
A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement that the company would remove videos promoting the behavior if put online.
The CTA warning comes a month after theft and vandalism caused by another TikTok trend left some California school districts with thousands of dollars in damage to their facilities. The September Challenge encouraged students to share videos of their misdeeds online. The main target was bathrooms where students stole and destroyed mirrors, sinks and urinals, videos of the trend show.
This nationwide phenomenon hit California counties in many regions. The damage in the Coalinga-Huron Unified School District in Fresno was widespread after students from fifth grade through high school destroyed soap, toilet paper and toiletries dispensers and smeared soap and red paint on toilets, walls and floors.
The CTA asked local affiliated groups to work with the district to educate students about responsible social media use and to encourage parents to monitor their children’s social media accounts.
Officials in other states are also warning of possible attacks by students. Connecticut attorney general William Tong wrote a letter to TikTok chairman Shou Zi Chew urging him to review company policies to prevent further abuse.
“Vandalism has closed schools in CT and the new ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge can put educators at risk,” Tong said. “I urge TikTok to come to CT to meet with educators and parents and commit to reforms that will stop this reckless content.”
CTA President E. Toby Boyd explained the seriousness of the problem in his memo on Tuesday.
“Hitting a teacher, whether or not it leads to injury, is assault and assault and is completely unacceptable,” he wrote. “Recording in a classroom or on other school premises without permission is illegal. In addition to potentially serious harm to the victims, a student offender could face serious consequences, including expulsion or criminal prosecution. ”
Online teachers and others have used TikTok to discourage users from participating.
“Good morning students. I hear today is the first day of the Slap A Teacher Challenge. Well, that’s exciting,” said one TikTok user in a cheeky video from October 1. “I just wanted those of you guys who want to join in, and I wanted to wish you all a nice last day of school. Because after slapping a teacher, you will most likely be expelled. Well, go out and learn something, you little rascals.