ROUND ROCK, Texas - Central Texas school districts are warning their students about what might happen if they participate in a proposed TikTok trend.
According to Round Rock ISD, posts on social media are proposing a new challenge for October which instructs students to "slap a staff member".
The school district is asking parents to have conversations with their students about the challenges and the "disciplinary consequences and potential criminal charges that could result". Round Rock ISD says that slapping a school district staff member is considered third-degree felony assault on a public servant.
"We know the vast majority of our students do not engage in this behavior and understand the seriousness of the situation," Round Rock ISD said in a statement. "However, we also understand the crushing influence of social media on young people and how it can result in rash, reckless and regrettable decisions."
Austin ISD is also asking parents to talk with their students about these challenges:
"Physical altercations of any kind are not tolerated in Austin ISD. The district encourages families to have discussions at home with their children about the seriousness of the consequences of these challenges, monitor their child's social media, and remind them to report any suspicious activity to a teacher, administrator, or counselor immediately. We want schools to be safe for everyone."
Hays CISD is also warning about possible criminal charges if students participate:
"Any assault on a teacher would be handled in accordance with the discipline procedures in our Student Code of Conduct which is online. Depending on the severity and circumstances of the assault, students could also face criminal charges through local law enforcement as they would anytime they hit a teacher – Tik Tok challenge or not."
This is not the first TikTok challenge to catch school districts' attention.
According to Round Rock ISD, more than 100 restroom soap and paper towel dispensers had to be replaced and "significant staff time and resources" were spent cleaning and repairing following vandalism, primarily in restrooms across the district's secondary schools due to the "Devious Licks" challenge.
At a Round Rock high school, stink bombs in restrooms resulted in two schoolwide evacuations and mandatory gas line testing that cost approximately $10,000, said the district
Austin ISD reported that last month, most of its middle school and some high school campuses were also affected due to the TikTok challenge, leading campuses to take measures to communicate with students "about the importance of respecting the space as members of a school community."
School districts in North Texas also reported damage to their campuses and restrooms and thefts of items such as soap, soap dispensers, teachers’ personal items, and air vents as a result of this and other similar challenges.
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