'Educators Beware': Warning Issued Against 'Slap a Teacher' TikTok Challenge

The California Teachers Association (CTA) issued a warning on Tuesday about a TikTok challenge known as "slap a teacher."

"Educators beware," said the association on Facebook. "One of the latest trends on social media is a 'challenge' that encourages students to physically attack ('slap') educators and video record it."

"It is from the same 'devious lick' challenge that last month saw students vandalize public school restrooms and destroy school property across the country," the association continued.

According to The Hill, the "slap a teacher" challenge prompts students to "calmly" approach their teachers and slap them. The trend hasn't become too widespread; however, a teacher in South Carolina fell victim to the challenge last week. Naturally, the incident sparked nationwide concern.

Newsweek previously reported that the Broward Teachers Union urged its members to "watch your fellow educators' backs." Meanwhile, the Nebraska State Education Association, the Ohio School Safety Center, and a preparatory school in Texas all issued warnings to parents and teachers about the challenge.

The Hill also reported Monday that Connecticut Attorney General William Tong called upon TikTok leaders to meet with, not just him, but parents and teachers throughout the state, to discuss the challenge.

"TikTok fails to control the spread of dangerous content. In CT, vandalism closed schools and the new 'Slap a Teacher' challenge may put educators at risk," Tong tweeted. "I am urging TikTok to come to CT to meet with educators and parents and commit to reforms that stop this reckless content."

TikTok fails to control the spread of dangerous content. In CT, vandalism closed schools and the new “Slap a Teacher” challenge may put educators at risk. I am urging TikTok to come to CT to meet with educators and parents and commit to reforms that stop this reckless content. pic.twitter.com/soO2wVT49M

— AG William Tong (@AGWilliamTong) October 4, 2021

In a public statement on Tuesday, TikTok said it would remove any content that shows a student participating in the challenge.

"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," the platform said.

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. Learn more about practicing responsible behavior here: https://t.co/68VWesl9rf

— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) October 6, 2021

Still, the California Teachers Association hopes local leaders and parents will commit to educating students of the dangers of viral challenges, and work together to maintain safe learning environments.

"We encourage CTA local affiliates to work with districts to educate both students and parents about responsible social media use and being respectful of others, and to make it clear that behavior influenced by this 'challenge' is unsafe and will not be tolerated," CTA said.

"Encourage parents to have conversations with their children about the serious consequences that participating in any activity such as this challenge could bring, and the need for everyone to work together to keep schools and classrooms safe for all," CTA continued.

The association explained that consequences for California students who participate in the challenge include expulsion and/or criminal prosecution. They also reminded students and parents that the act of recording in a classroom without permission is against the law.

In collaboration with the National PTA, TikTok released a helpful TikTok guide for parents, which can be viewed here.

Updated 10/07/2021, 9:41 AM ET, to include a comment from TikTok and a link to a resource from TikTok and the National PTA.

school hallway
The California Teachers Association (CTA) issued a warning yesterday about a TikTok challenge known as “slap a teacher.” urfinguss/iStock