The California Teachers Association on Tuesday warned school staff about a new TikTok challenge calling for students to “slap a teacher” on video.
“Educators beware!” the association wrote on Facebook. “As if widespread vandalism in our schools last month wasn’t enough, the same ‘challenge’ circulating on social media networks TikTok and Twitter is now calling for students to ‘slap a staff member.’”
The slap challenge is apparently related to the viral TikTok trend called “devious licks,” in which children across the U.S. posted TikTok videos of themselves vandalizing school property.
Sandburg Middle School in Glendora was among two schools in the Glendora Unified School District that have faced destruction last month because of the social media challenge, with soap dispensers ripped off and bathrooms covered in some sort of red liquid.
This month’s challenge has teacher groups and school districts around the country alarmed, with many issuing warnings to school communities.
The California Teachers Association warned that slapping an educator is considered assault and recording on 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,” the organization wrote.
The California group said the TikTok challenge doesn’t appear to have caught on widely, but that “students here in California may be coerced by social media or their peers to participate.”
There have so far been no reports of students attempting the “Slap a teacher” challenge in California.
But in South Carolina, parents were warned after an elementary school student apparently participated in the challenge, according to local news outlet WYFF.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong on Monday called on TikTok leadership to meet with teachers and parents in the state to address challenge, the Hill reported.
School districts were encouraged to educate students and parents to make it clear that the “challenge” is unsafe and will not be tolerated, and parents were advised to have conversations with their children about the serious consequences of participating in such a challenge.