One of the latest trends on social media is a “challenge” that encourages students to physically attack (“slap”) educators and video record it. It is from the same “devious lick” challenge that last month saw students vandalize public school restrooms and destroy school property across the country.
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.
Slapping a teacher, regardless of whether it results in injury, is assault and battery and is completely unacceptable and illegal. Recording in a classroom or on other school property without permission is illegal.
In addition to potential serious harm to victims, a student perpetrator could face serious consequences, including expulsion or criminal prosecution.
School districts are responsible for providing safe environments not only for students, but for their employees. 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. Urge districts to also encourage parents to monitor their child’s social media accounts for harmful influences or troublesome posts. Encourage parents to have conversations with their children about the serious consequences that participating in any activity such as this challenge could bring, and the need for everyone to work together to keep schools and classrooms safe for all.
The Broward Teachers Union in Florida recently asked its members to “watch your fellow educators’ backs,” and warned educators to watch for students running toward them or who appear to be taking video with their phones.
If an incident occurs at your school site, please ensure that school administration and your local CTA chapter are notified immediately, and that police reports are filed if necessary.