New viral challenges focus on "slapping" teachers
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY - Recent vandalism that was produced as a result of dares on the social media channel TikTok has prompted school officials to get out in front of other expansions on the activity.
On Monday, superintendents from Central Lee and Fort Madison issued statements on any expanded activity that is surfacing through the social media outlet suggesting striking a teacher.
TikTok has taken steps to make the viral videos harder to find. Searching "devious licks' which surfaced in September that resulted in schools across the country, including Fort Madison, to be vandalized, turns up nothing on the outlet. The thrust of the vandalism was in bathrooms at public schools.
Dr. Andy Crozier, superintendent at Central Lee said the district hadn't experienced any significant issues associated with the new trend, but wanted to be proactive with the issue.
Licks are slang for thefts, but the viral nature of the activity is now encompassing other criminal behavior
Crozier said shifting to a "challenge" of slapping a teacher will be met with serious consequences.
"Let me be very clear — this behavior would be a serious violation of our student conduct policy. In fact, it may be considered assault. Engaging in this behavior will result in a school suspension and possible expulsion. In some situations, there could be legal consequences," he wrote in a release to parents Monday evening.
"There are several TikTok challenges planned for each month of the year. None of them are productive or healthy for students or adults. We ask that you speak with your children about the serious nature of this type of behavior. We also encourage you to monitor your children’s social media accounts and discuss the consequences of taking part in risky, dangerous, or illegal social media challenges."
Crozier said there are apps that help parents monitor their children’s activity when using their smartphones and encouraged parents to read an article at he following link: https://www.safewise.com/resources/parental-control-filters-buyers-guide/.
Dr. Erin Slater of Fort Madison Community School District said any poor choices following the challenges will not be tolerated.
"Unfortunately, the effect that social media has on our youth in this case is negatively impacting the ability to focus on our educational goals. Any behaviors similar to those noted above will not be tolerated," Slater wrote.
"Should vandalism, poor choices, physical aggression, etc. occur, students who are identified will receive disciplinary consequences up to, and including referrals to the Fort Madison Police Department for criminal acts such as destruction of property, assault, disorderly conduct, etc.
"These are not actions that we take lightly. Our goals continue to be: (1) All students in FMCSD will learn through a rigorous curriculum with an emphasis on higher order thinking skills in order to solve complex problems and (2) All students in FMCSD will be prepared with the necessary life and social skills for success after graduation."
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