TikTok urged to reform as new trend shows students SLAPPING teachers
New TikTok trend involves SLAPPING teachers: Latest craze comes after viral videos saw students trashing school bathrooms and sparks demands from officials for app to crackdown on ‘dangerous content’
- Legislators and educators are urging TikTok to combat ‘dangerous content’ on its platform as another school-related trend has emerged
- The trend — known as ‘Slap a Teacher’ — encourages students to strike an educator or school staff member and run away before getting caught
- At least two school districts have reported incidents involving the challenge
- Connecticut Attorney General William Tong wrote a letter to TikTok’s CEO demanding ‘reforms that stop reckless content’
- TikTok has denied existence of the trend and deemed it ‘an insult to educators everywhere’
Officials are urging TikTok to crackdown on ‘dangerous content’ on its app after a viral new trend encouraging students to slap their teachers emerged.
The ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge, which was designated for the month of October on a list of school challenges circulating across the platform, prompts students to strike a teacher or staff member and then run away before they are caught.
Legislators, including Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, argue that TikTok needs to meet with lawmakers, educators and parents and ‘commit to reforms that stop reckless content’.
‘The last thing anyone needs right now is for children to be inundated by targeted social media encouraging lawlessness, self-harm and reckless, dangerous pranks,’ Tong wrote in a letter to TikTok’s CEO.
‘Viral TikTok videos have resulted in youth overdosing on medications, disfiguring their bodies, and engaging in a wide variety of physically dangerous acts. With new reports of the ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge, it is clear that TikTok is unable to control the spread of harmful content. Simply put, whatever TikTok has been doing to enforce its terms of service has not been working and merits serious review and reform.’
TikTok has denied the existence of the trend and deemed it ‘an insult to educators everywhere’. The platform claimed that although ‘it is not a trend on TikTok, if at any point it shows up, content will be removed’.
However, at least two school districts have already reported slapping incidents that were allegedly connected to the challenge.
The ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge, which was designated for the month of October on a list of school challenges circulating across TikTok, prompts students to strike a teacher or staff member and then run away before they are caught. At least two school districts have already reported slapping incidents that were allegedly connected to the challenge. This video purports to show an unidentified teacher being slapped
Legislators, including Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (pictured), argue that TikTok needs to meet with lawmakers, educators and parents and ‘commit to reforms that stop reckless content’
TikTok has denied the existence of the trend and deemed it ‘an insult to educators everywhere.’ The platform claimed that although ‘it is not a trend on TikTok, if at any point it shows up, content will be removed’
Educators in South Carolina confirmed on Friday that an elementary student had assaulted a teacher by striking her in the back of the head.
Bryan Vaughan, Director of Safety and Transportation at Lancaster County Schools in South Carolina, issued a letter to parents warning that any assault ‘an expellable offense’.
‘This type of behavior, just like theft and destruction of property, is not a prank. It’s criminal behavior,’ Vaughan wrote.
‘Any student who physically assaults a staff member will be held responsible both legally and by board policy. Assault on a staff member is an expellable offense which means the student is removed from the school for the rest of the year’.
He also urged parents to ‘educate [their] kids on the issue and monitor their social media habits’.
A slapping incident was also reported at a school in Springfield, Missouri and resulted in police involvement. It is unclear if the student involved faces any criminal charges.
Chief Communications Officer for Springfield Public Schools Stephen Hall (pictured) confirmed that a slapping incident occurred in his district and police were involved
Chief Communications Officer for Springfield Public Schools Stephen Hall told KY3 that the district has alerted parents of the trend and is taking steps to prevent further incidents.
‘Anytime we have a situation like this when a nationwide or social media trend makes way here to Springfield sometimes our parents might not be aware,’ Hall said.
‘So that is one of the things we want to start with, making sure they have an understanding of what is occurring and that they that they take the opportunity to meet with their kids and understand the real world consequences that can come from engaging in something like this.’
Meanwhile, leaders from school districts across the United States who say their educators are on ‘high alert’.
The California Teachers Association took to Facebook on Tuesday to alert their members about the ‘dangerous trend’.
‘Educators beware!’ the post read. ‘One of the latest trends on social media is a ‘challenge’ that encourages students to physically attack (‘slap’) educators and video record it.’
The union, issuing a notice on how educators should handle the trend if it does come to their schools, reminded teachers that regardless of whether or not slapping results in injury, it is ‘assault and battery’.
The organization deemed the behavior ‘completely unacceptable’ and reiterated that in ‘addition to potential serious harm to victims, a student perpetrator could face serious consequences, including expulsion or criminal prosecution’.
School officials are also urging students not to participate in the trend and asking parents to facilitate discussions with their kids about the dangers of participating in social media challenges.
‘We are calling on parents to talk with their children and let them know that threatening and engaging in physical harm is not a joke. Such action is and will be treated as assault. There will be zero tolerance for such behavior,’ Jenni Benson, president of the Nebraska State Education Association, wrote in a press release.
Her claims were echoed by John Spatz, executive director of the Nebraska Association of School Boards.
‘We need parents to talk to their kids and warn them of the serious consequences they face for such stunts, especially slapping a teacher,’ he wrote.
‘Not only are these challenges disturbing, they are asking students to participate in criminal or possible life-changing events.’
The ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge follows September’s ‘devious licks’ challenge in which students posted TikTok videos of themselves vandalizing school bathrooms and stealing soap dispensers and even turf from football fields. Some academic institutions were forced to closely monitor or even shut down bathrooms, where much of the vandalism occurred
The ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge follows September’s ‘devious licks’ challenge in which students posted TikTok videos of themselves vandalizing school bathrooms and stealing soap dispensers and even turf from football fields.
Some academic institutions were forced to closely monitor or even shut down bathrooms, where much of the vandalism occurred.
TikTok removed ‘devious licks’ content from its platform and redirected hashtags and search results to its guidelines to discourage the behavior and that it doesn’t allow content that ‘promotes or enables criminal activities’.
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