SC school officials warn students of criminal charges for ‘Slap a Teacher’ TikTok challenge

State News

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A new destructive TikTok challenge is circulating online and causing schools across the nation and in South Carolina to remain on high alert.

During the month of September, the trend was the ‘Devious Licks’ bathroom challenge, where students were encouraged to film themselves vandalizing school bathrooms and post the videos to TikTok.

But for the month of October, there’s a new and even more disturbing challenge called ‘Slap a Teacher’.

This challenge encourages students to film themselves slapping a teacher or school a staff member and posting the video to TikTok.

According to the South Carolina Education Association, a teacher in Lancaster, S.C. was the latest victim of this challenge last week. Since then, the association has been receiving letters from concerned teachers across the state.

“Last week my phone started blowing up with ‘Have you seen this this is crazy challenge? What do we do if this happens? What if I get slapped? What am I gonna do if a child slaps me?” Sherry East, president of the South Carolina Education Association said.

East said teachers went through a pandemic, teacher shortages and virtual learning challenges for the past two years and a slap in the face is the last thing they should be worried about when trying to do their jobs.

“It’s really hard for me to teach biology when I’m competing with a TikTok challenge,” East said, “We don’t need any other distractions to keep us from teaching right now. We absolutely need to be all hands on deck with content.”

State Superintendent Molly Spearman expressed the same concerns in a retweet on Monday — urging districts to hold students fully accountable for any acts of violence committed against teachers.

Cynthia Robinson, spokesperson for Spartanburg School District 6, said district leaders plan to take any violence against teachers or staff members seriously by holding students fully accountable for their actions.

“Slapping a teacher is definitely not a wise choice for students to make and there will be consequences,” Robinson said, “This is not a laughing matter and we will turn any assault cases over to law enforcement.”

Last month, 7 NEWS reported on a Spartanburg School District 6 middle school that was a victim of the Devious Licks challenge — where students ripped soap dispensers off the wall and threw them into toilets.

Now the district is making an effort to stop the ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge before it even starts at any of their schools.

On Monday afternoon, district leaders sent out an email urging parents to talk with their children about the consequences of participating in the challenge — which could include expulsion, suspension or criminal charges.

Spartanburg School District 6 letter to parents

“We do not want our children with a criminal record over a silly TikTok challenge. We really want our parents to talk to their children, monitor their children’s social media accounts and just make them aware of the repercussions for taking part in this TikTok challenge,” Robinson said.

There’s now a list of these destructive challenges for every month through July 2022 circulating on social media — some of the challenges include sexual assault against teachers and exposing body parts — which shows that there’s no sign of these trends slowing down.

Both Molly Spearman and the South Carolina Education Association called on TikTok to do more to restrict these videos from being shared on their platform.

Last month TikTok claimed they’re already working to put a stop to it.

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