The California Teachers Association has issued a warning to educators regarding a social media trend that encourages students to hit their instructors. The warning mentions that the trend does not “appear to have caught on widely” yet, but there was an instance in South Carolina that involved an elementary school student hit a teacher.
"While this month’s challenge, not sponsored or authorized by TikTok, doesn’t yet to appear to have caught on widely, there has already been at least one incident reported in South Carolina and it is important to be aware that students here in California may be coerced by social media or their peers to participate," the statement reads.
"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. In addition to potential serious harm to victims, a student perpetrator could face serious consequences, including expulsion or criminal prosecution."
California is not the first state to issue a warning regarding the challenge. The Messa Police Department in Arizona, Nebraska State Education Association, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and several others have also issued warnings regarding the challenge. Participation in the challenge can result in detention, expulsion or criminal charges.
TikTok is also stepping into slow the spread of the challenge. The app has pledged to remove all content related to the challenge that it deems unsafe or promoting violence.
"The rumored 'slap a teacher' dare is an insult to educators everywhere. And while this is not a trend on TikTok, if at any point it shows up, content will be removed," TikTok tweeted.