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Message from Superintendent Mitchell - TikTok Challenge

Message from Superintendent Mitchell:


Parents and Guardians, you may have heard of the recent TikTok “Devious Licks” challenge in September encouraging students to vandalize school property. Please be aware that news sources are reporting that the trend is continuing, on a month to month basis, with new concerning challenges emerging. Parents, guardians and families can help prevent incidents by being aware of their student's access to social media accounts as well as reminding students through conversations at home about being respectful to others, their property and making good decisions.  Reminding students of the consequences that may come from inappropriate actions if participating in destruction challenges also provides the same clear message at home that they are receiving at school.  We appreciate all of the support that we receive from our parents and guardians. 


I was recently asked several questions by The Anderson News concerning the TikTok challenge and how it has affected us. Look below to see those questions answered as well as links to resources to help parents/guardians with social media questions. 


From the Anderson News:

We’ve received reports from a credible source that some students have vandalized and/or stolen school property/materials as part of a new Tik Tok trend. Below are several questions related to the topic.


1.)        In discussions with school resource officers, have they confirmed this trend is tied to the ‘Devious Licks’ Tik Tok challenge, which encourages students to steal or vandalize from school or elsewhere? If not, what do they trace it to?


2.)        How many incidents of vandalism or theft have occurred thus far that are directly tied to Tik Tok, or where it’s at least suspected to be the source? 


3.)        In which local schools have these incidents been documented? Please provided the numbers for each school if possible. What items have been stolen or vandalized?


4.)        What disciplinary measures are being applied for such cases?


5.)        What measures are being taken to discourage students from following this trend, or other destructive social media trends in the future?


6.)        What role can parents or guardians play in preventing further incidents?



Thank you for the questions.  My response is below: 


We have had 5 TikTok incidents involving students at  ACMS and 3 at ACHS.   The items students took from the school included soap, soap dispensers, toilet paper holders, sink handles, rolls of toilet paper and items such as post-its, staplers, a clock and one cone.  Principals at ACMS and ACHS handled the discipline using the Code of Conduct, providing restorative disciplinary practices, in-school suspension and reminded students through announcements and individually that stolen items or damages could result in charges and would be reported to the school SRO.  The Administration has taken several measures to discourage students from following the TikTok trend and/or other destructive social media trends such as having conversations with students about promoting school pride, responsible decision making, respect for others and their property and encouraging students to to model these character traits.  They also taught and assigned lessons on respect and responsible decision making in advisory classes utilizing the Suite 360 program.  Parents, guardians and families can help prevent further incidents by being aware of and monitoring their student's use of social media or access to social media accounts as well as reminding students through  conversations at home about being respectful to others, their property and making good decisions.  Reminding students of the consequences that may come from inappropriate actions if participating in TikTok or other destruction challenges also provides the same clear message at home that they are receiving at school.  We appreciate parent and guardian support.  The principals at both schools have worked closely with students and families to deter any further inappropriate behavior related to social media challenges.  In discussion with the high school SRO, he  was made aware of the TikTok incidents and indicated the principals utilizing the restorative practices for these student incidents is appropriate and far better than charging them unless the inappropriate behaviors continue or become more severe.  Students have been made aware that the behaviors are inappropriate and could result in more stringent disciplinary measures. 


Sheila Mitchell

Superintendent

Anderson County Schools



TikTok adds educational resources for parents

https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/01/tiktok-adds-educational-resources-for-parents-as-part-of-its-family-pairing-feature/


Common Sense Media: Parent information on Social Media

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/social-media


Kids Health: Teaching Kids To Be Smart About Social Media

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/social-media-smarts.html

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