TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Leaders with the Hillsborough County School District are issuing a stern warning about problems social media is causing on school campuses.
Superintendent Addison Davis says, right now, challenges on TikTok are their biggest concern.
He tells 8 On Your Side, “These challenges are causing harm to our facilities, causing potential harm to our employees, and to be clear, we’re just not gonna accept it.”
The superintendent says students have vandalized bathrooms and ripped down sinks in local schools.
This month, a challenge posted by “Devious Licks” calls on students to “slap a teacher.”
According to Davis, whether it’s violating the code of conduct or breaking the law, students will face the appropriate punishments.
“The law, if it’s gonna be broken, we’re gonna address it in a collective manner,” he says.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister echoes the superintendent’s message in a video posted online.
“It may seem like a silly TikTok challenge but trust me it will have very real consequences,” Chronister says in the public service announcement.
Other Florida school districts say they’re facing similar problems with social media challenges.
Pictures posted by the Seminole County Public Schools show toilets torn from the walls and damaged soap dispensers.
In September, 8 On Your Side reported when Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced the arrest of three high schoolers for damaging or stealing school property.
Hillsborough mom Meagan Haynes says she’s in disbelief at the recent social media challenges.
“They’re posting their stuff like fights for instance and it’s getting them likes, it’s horrible,” she describes.
The mom believes it’s the right call for students who participate to face consequences.
“I don’t feel the kids need to have their phones at school anymore, I mean period. Look, you know, 10 years ago we were reprimanded if we had phones at school,” Haynes said.