Kent School District leaders posted a statement to the district website asking families to help shut down harmful TikTok challenges that are causing damage to school property, especially in bathrooms, at multiple schools.
“A previous challenge encouraged students to vandalize schools and school property,” according to the district statement. “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.”
Kentwood and Kentridge high schools as well as Mattson and Cedar Heights middle schools are among the locations where incidents have occurred, according to social media posts.
“There are real consequences for students that participate in this ‘challenge,’” according to the district. “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.”
Students are watching the TikTok videos and then acting out the pranks at schools.
“While the TikTok challenge may seem like an innocent prank to students, it has serious consequences,” according to the district. “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.”
The district reported that 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,” according to the district statement. “Thank you for taking this matter seriously and for your efforts to help ensure KSD schools are safe for all students and staff.”
• School districts across the nation have had to deal with the TikTok challenges, according to this article on npr.org, “Students are damaging school bathrooms for attention on TikTok.”