A South Carolina woman has been the victim of a disturbing new TikTok challenge encouraging schoolchildren to “slap a teacher”.
The challenge, which began on October 1, follows the recent trend of “sneaky licks” that led to the theft and damage to school property last month before TikTok took action to remove all videos or hashtags referencing it from the platform.
Sadly, the new ‘slap a teacher’ trend has already caused disruption in at least one elementary school in Lancaster County, where an educator ended up being assaulted as part of the trend.
In a statement first posted to Facebook, Lancaster County School District Safety and Transportation Director Bryan Vaughn confirmed: “Unfortunately, an elementary school student assaulted a teacher by hitting her on the back of the head. “
He added: “This type of behavior, just like theft and destruction of property, is not a joke. It is criminal behavior.”
Vaughn also warned that any such assault is “a deportable offense” and urged parents to “educate their children about the problem and monitor their social media habits.”
Warnings have already been issued in several US states about the tendency to “slap a teacher”.
According to Local 10, at least one Florida teachers’ union has warned educators to be vigilant of any potential attack on the school in the coming weeks.
The Broward Teachers Union emailed its members last week urging them to “watch the backs of your fellow educators” and be careful of students running towards them while holding their phones.
Meanwhile in Texas, parents at a school received a text alerting them to the trend.
According to San Antonio Express News, IDEA Carver College Preparatory School released the message as a “proactive measure” and although no incidents have yet been reported, the school principal has warned of ” serious consequences “for everyone involved.
Fox8 also reported that the Ohio School Safety Center issued an alert to school districts across the state warning them of the trend, while letters were sent to middle and high school parents.
Nebraska State Education Association president Jenni Benson also told KSNBLocal4 that schools statewide will take a “zero tolerance” approach to anyone engaging in such behavior.
“We call on parents to speak with their children and let them know that threatening and physically abusing is not a joke,” she told the outlet.
WHEC, meanwhile, reports that parents at New Britain High School have been told their children could be deported or even arrested if they are found to have participated in the challenge.
News week has contacted Lancaster County School District Safety and Transportation for comment.