New TikTok trend costs mid-Michigan school districts thousands


FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 filer, a logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen, in Tokyo. TikTok is facing two EU data privacy investigations, one into its handling of children’s personal data and another over its data transfers to China. Ireland’s data privacy watchdog, which is TikTok’s lead regulator in the European Union, said Tuesday that it has started two inquiries to examine whether the popular short video app has breached stringent EU data privacy regulations. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

HOLT, Mich. (WLNS) — A new challenge is taking over the popular social media site TikTok.
Holt public schools is just one district among several others in Michigan paying the price for it.

“We have been challenged over the last month. I estimate between $5 and $10 thousand dollars of damages,” Holt public schools superintendent, David Hornak, said. Now that includes replacing and maintaining things like hand sanitizer dispensers, soap dispensers, we had a mirror that was damaged.”

Just last month, the district says it suffered extensive damages to restrooms after students took part in the first TikTok school challenge to vandalize school bathrooms.

“We are very surprised that they are engaging in behaviors like this and to that end we’re disappointed,” Hornak said.

The challenges don’t stop there, there’s one challenge for every month of the school year. This month’s challenge is “slap a teacher.”

Other months challenges are, for example, mess up school signs and make a mess in the courtyard or cafeteria.

“It’s time for us to collectively move away from the TikTok challenges and restore ownership of our schools,” Hornak said.

Yesterday Hornak sent a letter to the district warning students about the consequences of these challenges.

“We have sent a video summary of this memo more or less that I created that will be shown in our fifth through twelfth grade classrooms throughout the district first hour tomorrow. It’s our hope that our teachers will engage our students after they watch the video in a conversation,” Hornak said.

Another district concerned about this TikTok trend is Charlotte Public Schools.

“There are consequences to these actions, there’s an actual cost to the property that you’re damaging,” Mandy Stewart, Charlotte Public School Superintendent said. “We also discipline according to our code of conduct.”

Both the Holt and Charlotte Superintendents say there have not been any incidents of this month’s TikTok challenge to slap a teacher.

Hornak is hopeful these trends will end.

“I believe in our students, and I believe we can rise above this but its gonna take each of us to make a difference for all of us,” Hornak said.

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