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New TikTok challenge targets teachers; schools warn of consequences

Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 5:01 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - School administrators are trying to get out in front of a potential threat from social media.

Teachers and parents are being alerted to the latest TikTok challenge encouraging participants to slap or smack a teacher, run away and post the video.

After an elementary school student reportedly slapped a teacher in South Carolina, administrators at different JCPS schools sent out email to teachers and parents warning of a “ ... harmful national trend ... ” involving “inappropriate touching of staff.“

”I can’t believe that anybody is doing anything like that,” JCPS parent Ester Swift said. “In my generation, when I was growing up, we didn’t think about doing stuff like that.”

A previous Tik-Tok challenge resulted in property damage in schools in Oldham and Jefferson counties. Soap dispensers and mirrors were ripped off the walls in a wave of restroom vandalism.

Jefferson County Teachers Association Vice President Tammy Berlin said she is concerned about this latest challenge appealing to younger students.

”They have issues with impulse control and things like that,” Berlin said. “They think this would be funny or whatever. Sometimes they make poor decisions.”

One letter from a school administrator warned the slap-a-teacher challenge could lead to “assault charges, indecent exposure, and/or sexual harassment charges.”

Parents and teachers were urged to “continue to have conversations with your students about these trends and the serious consequences that can result from seeking a few seconds of attention on social media.”

“We’ve got to count on our teaching to help them,” JCPS parent Kim Lloyd said. “But I think all of these challenges are a bit ridiculous. They just need to stop. It’s not safe.”

TikTok addressed users via Twitter and said “We’re removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools and teachers.”

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