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'Slap a Teacher' Challenge Pulls in More Victims

But TikTok insists the challenge didn't originate on its platform
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2021 7:00 AM CDT
TikTok: 'Slap a Teacher' Challenge Didn't Start With Us
In this Sept. 28, 2020, photo, a logo of smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

(Newser) Teachers' groups, local authorities, and law enforcement continue to warn against the newest supposed TikTok challenge—one that involves hitting teachers—but the social media platform is now saying it doesn't think the dare originated on TikTok. Teachers in Missouri and South Carolina are among those who've reportedly been the victims of the "slap a teacher" challenge, which is said to involve students sneaking up from behind an unlucky educator and doing just that. Now two more incidents, the first in Louisiana, where authorities say a high school student punched a disabled 64-year-old English teacher several times on Wednesday, knocking her to the ground, per the New York Times.

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That student at Covington High School, 18-year-old Larrianna Jackson, is now facing felony battery charges. The teacher was treated at a local hospital for arm and head injuries and released. In the second incident, officials with Massachusetts' Braintree Public Schools say a district employee was similarly assaulted, though further details weren't given, reports NBC Boston. BPS officials say the police have been contacted and the student could end up being expelled.

Officials are still trying to figure out if the attacks were inspired by a challenge posted on TikTok. There's one problem, though: TikTok says there is no such challenge, at least not on TikTok. "This alleged 'challenge' would violate our policies ... 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 TikTok," the company said in a statement to Insider. Instead, an examination by that outlet found videos on TikTok from teachers simply warning against the challenge.

It appears an early sign of the "slap a teacher" challenge emerged in mid-September after an Idaho school resource officer included it as part of a Facebook post that warned of "upcoming TikTok challenges" by month. The officer tells Insider he originally saw the list in a private Facebook group. Also included on the list: "Mess up a toilet/vandalize the restroom at school," which was a challenge shut down on TikTok in September, as well as "jab a breast" (set for January) and "make a mess in the courtyard or cafeteria" (March). In a Wednesday tweet, TikTok called the "slap a teacher" challenge "an insult to educators everywhere" and noted if any such content shows up on the platform, it will be removed. (Read more TikTok stories.)

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