‘That’s a crime’: Springs police warn against TikTok ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A new social media challenge is making the rounds among students -- and police have a warning for any child thinking about participating.
“The fact that you want likes on TikTok or you’re looking for some sort of social media validation is not a defense. You’ve committed a crime.”
The TikTok challenge involves slapping a teacher or other school staff member, then running away before getting caught. It may sound absurd -- but so does ripping sinks out of school bathrooms and stealing soap dispensers, all part of another TikTok challenge that wreaked havoc in schools across the Pikes Peak region last month.
“We have a couple of schools where most of their bathrooms can not even be used right now because the damage is so extensive,” District 20 spokesperson Allison Cortez told 11 News in September.
The ‘Slap a Teacher’ challenge hasn’t arrived in southern Colorado yet, and it’s important parents are aware before it does. Because regardless of their age, regardless of why they are doing it, Springs police are very clear: slapping someone for social media is not a harmless prank, it’s a crime.
“This is not a difficult concept here,” said Lt. James Sokolik with the Colorado Springs Police Department. “That’s a crime. There’s no excuse for going out and slapping somebody, physically harming somebody for any kind of prank for social media. Be it a teacher, be it a stranger. be it anybody else, that is a crime.
“And depending on the level of injury, it starts at harassment, moves quite quickly to third-degree assault, and if there’s significant injury, then we’re looking at second-degree felony charges.”
Cortez speculated last month that the bathroom challenge was only the beginning of headaches for school districts spawned by TikTok.
“One [challenge] talks about dismantling facility members’ cars, another one talks about assault, so this is a trend that we are worried could get even worse, so that is why it is so important that parents talk to their students about this,” she said.
She encourages any students who witness any of these challenges to submit a Safe2Tell tip.
TikTok says it does not support these destructive social media dares and posted on its Twitter account that it will delete any content using hashtags connected to the challenges.
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