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‘Smack a teacher’ videos going viral on TikTok app

Posts claim October is 'smack a staff member' challenge month.

SAN DIEGO — Yet another TikTok challenge is going viral, and this time teachers are being smacked.

October is the month where students are being encouraged to "smack a staff member" and post the video on social media.

Last month, it was the “devious licks” challenge getting all the attention, where students would steal hand sanitizer and soap dispensers from school bathrooms, and generally vandalize anything they could get their hands on in restrooms.

Poway Unified School District saw some vandalism and put out a warning to parents in September, which said destruction of school property would not be tolerated.

“This isn’t just a harmless prank, there are serious consequences for the sake of social media notoriety,” said Poway district spokesperson, Christine Paik, last month.

Social media experts said students post the videos to get likes and be popular, without considering the repercussions.

“They think, okay, if these people are getting notoriety then it will be worth it.  It'll be worth it if I’m suspended from school.  I mean, this is if even they think about consequences,” said UNC Charlotte professor, Dr. Sarah Evans.

Others believe the challenges start out as pranks or even hoaxes, before being imitated over and over again on TikTok.

“TikTok does not have any parental control functions and they do not have a kid algorithm versus an adult algorithm, something that would possibly direct children to a different space,” Evans said.

The Poway Unified spokesperson said, so far, the district has not seen this latest "smack a staff member" challenge at any of their school campuses.

Experts say, if possible, keep an eye on your children's social media posts and talk to them about illegal behavior on social media.

Editor's update: A TikTok spokesperson emailed News 8 the following statement after our report aired:

This alleged 'challenge' would violate our policies and we would aggressively remove such content, but the reality is that we have not found related content on our platform, and most people appear to be learning about the offline dare from sources other than TikTok.

We also offer parental controls via our Family Pairing feature, which allows parents to link their TikTok account to their teen's to enable various privacy and content restrictions, including screen time management. 

Additionally, while the full TikTok experience is for people 13 and over, in the US, we accommodate those under the age of 13 in TikTok for Younger Users, a view-only experience with curated content and additional safety and privacy protections. We partner with Common Sense Networks to help make sure content is both age-appropriate and safe for an audience under 13.

We've also partnered with National PTA on a TikTok Guide For Parents, which provides families and educators with a comprehensive overview of what TikTok is and the safety tools and resources available to create age-appropriate experiences on the platform. 

Here are some additional resources that may be helpful: 


RELATED: TikTok ‘devious licks’ challenge is damaging schools

WATCH: TikTok ‘devious licks’ challenge is damaging schools (Sept. 2021)

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