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Latest TikTok Challenge Sees Teachers Assaulted

Connecticut AG says platform must reform
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2021 1:15 PM CDT
Latest TikTok Challenge Sees Teachers Assaulted
This Sept. 17, 2021 photo shows a sign on a closed restroom at Lawrence High School in Lawernce, Kan., following a social media trend in which students trashed school bathrooms.   (Cuyler Dunn via AP)

(Newser) – TikTok users have been compelled to set themselves on fire and choke themselves until they pass out or die. Now, the trend of dangerous social media challenges continues with a new call to abuse teachers. "Educators beware!" the California Teachers Association warned Tuesday, noting a challenge spreading on TikTok and Twitter asks students to record themselves slapping a teacher, per the Los Angeles Times. A day earlier, Connecticut attorney general William Tong described the new "Slap a Teacher" challenge in a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, requesting that officials come to Connecticut to "meet with educators and parents and commit to reforms that stop this reckless content."

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Florida's Broward Teachers Union has also warned its members about the challenge. "It's so serious that everybody that I spoke to … has just been extremely flabbergasted that it’s gotten to this level," President Anna Fusco tells USA Today. "Our teachers do not sign up to go into work and have to look over their shoulder or be worried that they might get hit," she adds. A teacher with Missouri's Springfield Public Schools has been slapped, per KYTV, while another teacher with South Carolina's Lancaster County School District was reportedly struck in the back of the head. This follows another TikTok challenge that urged students to record themselves stealing or trashing school property.

As the "devious licks" challenge gained popularity last month, students stole toilets, destroyed hygiene-product dispensers, and "smeared soap and red dye on toilets, walls and floors," causing thousands of dollars worth of damages, per the Times. Tong's letter noted one high school in New Britain had to close "due to unprecedented vandalism and behavior challenges" linked to the viral challenge. Some students have been arrested. School officials across the country say students who abuse a teacher for this latest challenge could also face criminal prosecution or expulsion. TikTok says it will remove any videos associated with the challenges, though Tong argues that's not enough. (Read more TikTok stories.)

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