California Teachers Association (CTA) sent a warning to teachers on Oct. 5 about the TikTok “slap a teacher” challenge, which encourages students to slap teachers.
After an elementary school student struck a teacher in the back of her head in Lancaster County School District in South Carolina, CTA issued a warning titled “When Social Media Trends Become Assault” on Oct. 5, aimed at the latest TikTok challenge, which prompts students to physically attack teachers or staff members and run away before being caught.
“While this month’s challenge, not sponsored or authorized by TikTok, doesn’t yet to appear to have caught on widely, there has already been at least one incident reported in South Carolina and it is important to be aware that students here in California may be coerced by social media or their peers to participate,” CTA wrote in the warning.
“We encourage CTA local affiliates to work with districts to educate both students and parents about responsible social media use and being respectful of others, and to make it clear that behavior influenced by this ‘challenge’ is unsafe and will not be tolerated.”
CTA advised teachers to encourage parents to talk with students about the consequences of participating in any activity that this challenge could bring. It also indicates that slapping teachers is unacceptable and will be considered assault and battery.
The “slap a teacher” challenge appears to be part of the “devious licks” challenge from last month that prompted students to vandalize school property.
The “devious licks” challenge has negatively impacted many schools across the country, allegedly resulting in thousands of dollars of damage in Coalinga-Huron Unified School District in Fresno, California. The school district said they had to replace 41 soap dispensers in three days.
According to a picture circulated on Twitter, an agenda for TikTok challenges was made at a prior time with a list of themes that were planned each month from September 2021 until July 2022. September’s theme was to damage school restrooms; October’s is to slap a staff member; November’s theme is to kiss someone else’s girlfriend; December’s is to write graffiti.
Last month’s damage prompted school districts and teacher associations to pay attention to the new challenge arising this month. Nebraska State Education Association criticized both challenges as criminal behaviors and asked TikTok to shut down challenges calling for violence and other illegal activities.
Jenni Benson, president of Nebraska State Education Association, emphasized that “There will be zero tolerance for Tiktok’s ‘slap a teacher challenge.’”
On Oct. 4, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong wrote a letter to Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, urging him to meet with parents and educators to discuss an effective and permanent solution to prevent such challenges.
“Whatever TikTok has been doing to enforce its terms of service has not been working and merits serious review and reform. I ask that you share a detailed description of all policies and procedures in place to prevent against abuse and misuse of your platform,” Tong wrote in the letter.
A TikTok spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email that this latest “slap a teacher” challenge has not appeared on the platform, and any content promoting illegal activities is not allowed on the platform and will be removed.
“This alleged ‘challenge’ would violate our policies and we would aggressively remove such content, but the reality is that we have not found related content on our platform, and most people appear to be learning about the offline dare from sources other than Tik Tok,” the spokesperson wrote.