Kent School District calls for end to ‘dangerous’ TikTok challenges

Oct 7, 2021, 10:22 AM
Students across the country are videoing themselves stealing soap dispensers, microscopes, and even turf off stadium football fields and posting their heists on TikTok in a phenomenon dubbed "devious licks" that is bedeviling administrators and forcing them to shut down bathrooms. (Photo courtesy of Cuyler Dunn via AP)
(Photo courtesy of Cuyler Dunn via AP)

The Kent School District is asking families for help to shut down a TikTok challenge that is causing damage to school property.

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According to the district, the challenge encourages students to vandalize things at school, particularly in the bathrooms. This is happening nationwide. The Kent School District says they have had paper towel and soap dispensers go missing or get torn off the walls and thrown in the toilets in several middle and high schools in the district.

Officials also say they’re hearing reports of more TikTok related pranks being planned, including physical violence against school staff in a challenge known as “slap a teacher.”

The district says any student who engages in vandalism or assault will face serious consequences.

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The full statement from the Kent School District is included below:

Harmful TikTok challenges continue to affect Kent School District, and we ask families to help us shut these down quickly.

A previous challenge encouraged students to vandalize schools and school property. This is happening nationwide, and our schools in Kent School District (KSD) are also experiencing theft and vandalism as a result. We’ve had several paper towel dispensers and soap dispensers turn up missing or get torn off the wall and thrown in the toilets. Again, this is happening in multiple schools in our district.

There are real consequences for students that participate in this “challenge.” This is an excellent opportunity to discuss with your child appropriate technology use, being socially responsible, the importance of following school rules, and the harmful effects of peer pressure sometimes found on social media.

While the TikTok challenge may seem like an innocent prank to students, it has serious consequences. Not only is the damage expensive to repair, but stolen items are also difficult to replace during the pandemic. Therefore, please know and share with your student(s) that any action resulting in theft, destruction of property, or assault will be dealt with swiftly and severely following the Student Rights and Responsibility Handbook.

Additional TikTok challenges are planned for the rest of the school year, including promoting physical violence against educators and school staff, vandalism, and even physical/sexual assault.

Please talk to your student(s) and help us send a message about respecting their school, teachers, staff members, and classmates.

Thank you for taking this matter seriously and for your efforts to help ensure KSD schools are safe for all students and staff.

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Kent School District calls for end to ‘dangerous’ TikTok challenges