JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Schools are warning students about new social media “challenges” that are circulating on sites like TikTok.
It follows a pattern that manifested in September with a challenge called “devious licks,” which encouraged students to vandalize school bathrooms and steal items from campus.
A list of monthly tasks that has been widely shared online instructs students to “mess up school signs,” “make a mess in the courtyard or cafeteria,” and even expose themselves on campus. The challenge for the month of October prompts students to “smack a staff member.”
Some trends on TikTok have educators issuing warnings about the real world consequences of internet "challenges." Story at 6 p.m. @joemcleantv♬ original sound - News4Jax
“They’re very serious, and we will take them very seriously,” Duval County Public Schools spokesperson Tracy Pierce said of the list of TikTok trends. “Everything on that list is something that’s a violation of our Student Code of Conduct and could result in some kind of criminal referral.”
Students caught participating in any of the illegal activities will face expulsion and criminal prosecution, according to officials. The challenges and their effects also disrupt the school day and the learning environment, which have already suffered greatly under the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This just won’t be tolerated it just won’t be the destruction of property and interruption of valuable teaching time is not where we want to be right now not at this critical juncture when we’re hopefully getting better with COVID,” St. Johns Education Association president Michelle Dillon said.
School and law enforcement officials are asking parents to discuss their online activity with their children and warn them of the real-world consequences of taking part in these types of “challenges.”
“Students shouldn’t lower themselves to these kinds of things that are being challenged on Facebook, it really is below them,” Pierce said. “I encourage folks to make good decisions, both at school and elsewhere to keep yourself out of trouble.