LANCASTER, S.C. — A new TikTok challenge targeting teachers is encouraging students to slap school staff members. It’s the new challenge for the month of October called "Slap a Teacher," and it's tied to previous "devious licks" dares.
In Lancaster County, at least one student has followed through with the challenge according to school officials.
“Sadly, we actually had an elementary student assault a teacher by striking her in the back of the head,” the Lancaster County School District said in a Facebook post on their transportation page, “This type of behavior just like theft and destruction of property is not a prank. It’s criminal behavior.”
The district said students who physically assault staff members will be held responsible legally and could be expelled. Other school districts, including Cabarrus County Schools, issued similar warnings.
This isn’t the first TikTok challenge raising safety concerns in schools. Last month, students across the Charlotte area were ripping out soap dispensers and sinks in another challenging circulating on TikTok telling students to vandalize school restrooms.
UNC Charlotte professor Sara Levens, who studies psychology and social media, warns parents of the many dangers of social media.
Levens said because of how new social media is, there hasn’t been enough research to show its effects on children long term. However, Levens said the research that is available screams danger.
“TikTok does not have any parental control functions, and they do not have a kid algorithm versus an adult algorithm,” Levens said.
Levens tells parents they should reduce social media time as much as possible and always look at what their kids are doing online.
“We would do the same thing for our kid’s friends like I want to meet your friend, I want to meet their parents,” Levens said. “Here you have this whole space online where you don’t have any of that transparency. You don’t have any of that ability to get to know any of the content that is going to be influencing your child.”