Teachers warned about TikTok slapping challenge

Teachers are being warned about a viral TikTok challenge that is encouraging students to slap teachers on camera.

The California Teachers Association (CTA) issued a warning on Tuesday titled “When Social Media Trends Become Assault.”

The notice said that the challenge doesn’t “appear to have caught on widely” yet, but noted that there was already one instance in South Carolina. The association referenced a Newsweek report about an elementary student who struck a teacher in the back of the head.

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“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,” the notice said.

The CTA also noted that the Broward Teachers Union in Florida asked members to “watch your fellow educators’ backs.”

“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,” the CTA said. 

The Hill has reached out to TikTok for comment on the CTA’s warning.

This is not the first warning about the “Slap a Teacher” challenge. In Arizona, the Mesa Police Department issued a bulletin on Saturday warning that anyone who knowingly assaults a school employee has committed aggravated assault.

“Simply put, if someone knowingly assaults a teacher or other person employed by any school while they are performing their official duties, they just committed an aggravated assault,” the agency said in the bulletin. “So, if you want some common-sense advice from the Mesa Police Department that advice is ‘Don’t do it.’”  

On Monday, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (D) urged TikTok to meet with him, as well as parents and teachers, to address the “harmful impact TikTok is having on the mental and physical safety of young people in Connecticut.”