NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Social media in September brought a destructive trend into schools with the ‘devious licks’ challenge. As October arrives, a new and potentially violent challenge is being posed.
Some teachers are concerned for their safety and have been reaching out to the Connecticut Education Association after the “Slap a Teacher” challenge emerged on TikTok.
September’s TikTok challenge encouraged students to tear up their school bathrooms. It even happened at numerous schools across Connecticut. Students we talked to are aware of the trends and have seen them in their own schools.
One told us that last month vandals emulating the trend “took out the soap dispensers, the toilets, the stalls…They took a soap dispenser and put it in the toilet.”
From New Britain to Waterbury and even smaller school districts have already sent out letters to parents and teachers warning of the dangerous trend and drawing a line in the sand: if you assault an educator, you will be punished to the full extent of the law.
New Britain High School is one of the schools already sending letters home to parents. Students told us teachers were talking about it in class Thursday.
Amelina, a senior said, “I don’t know what students would feel like they have the power to do that and not get in trouble. It’s not only an invasion of personal space but that’s technically assaulting them as well.”
Earlier this month, New Britain High had to take a day off, hit the pause button, and reset the year so they can get the students back on track. They had many fights and the bathrooms were getting torn up. Now, students say that has made a difference and the New Britain school system is getting out ahead of it.
Kim Beslanga, a senior, described, “Our hallways are silent, they are silent now. Everything is really getting back into control.”
Other towns and cities teaming up with her school resource officers and monitoring social media to try and head off any attacks.
Amelina added, “When they realize their actual punishments and consequences and that this is not a playground but a learning environment then they should be able to get everybody under control.”
Kate Dias, the president of the Connecticut Education Association, explained, “While we are sitting here telling teachers ‘please be aware, know what is going on around you,’ it’s an awful warning to have to put on them, so I really hope that we can blow enough air at this that we blow out the spark that is igniting it.”
Depending on the amount of damage or harm inflicted, it could be a felony that carries prison time. Police departments across the state are working with the schools to make sure everyone knows the consequences before this trend takes effect Friday.