Two seventh-graders could face criminal charges after officials said they slapped a substitute teacher at a middle school in Eastern North Carolina as part of TikTok challenge.
The incident occurred Thursday at Lumberton Junior High School in Robeson County, district spokesperson Glen Burnette told McClatchy News in a statement. Roughly 700 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students attend the middle school, which is 100 miles south of Raleigh just shy of the South Carolina border.
School administrators said the two students accused of slapping the substitute have been disciplined.
It wasn’t immediately clear what their punishment was, but Burnette said the school district also plans to petition the court for assault charges against the students.
“Once our school district was made aware of students potentially participating in these reckless ‘TikTok Challenges,’ we were very clear that these actions were not going to be tolerated and that there would be consequences for students that choose to engage in this behavior,” he told McClatchy News.
Burnette said the district has an obligation to provide teachers and staff with a safe working environment, adding that “any student who physically assaults a staff member will be held responsible both legally and by board policy.”
The “slap a teacher” challenge has prompted stark warnings from school district officials and law enforcement following the “devious lick” trend on TikTok in which students filmed themselves vandalizing school bathrooms. TikTok has reportedly said the trend didn’t originate on its platform.
The “slap a teacher” challenge appears to have started with a list of other monthly TikTok challenges recently shared on Facebook and other social media platforms, Business Insider reported.
Lumberton Junior High is not the first school in the Carolinas to confront the “slap a teacher” challenge.
An elementary school student in South Carolina’s Lancaster County School District is accused of striking a teacher in the head as part of the challenge, The Rock Hill Herald report. No criminal charges were filed but that student now faces expulsion.