WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — The superintendent of Westport Community Schools is sounding the alarm after he said students, inspired by a TikTok video challenge, damaged and stole school property last month.
Superintendent Thomas Aubin sent a letter to parents to make them aware of these challenges, including the latest one that encourages students to “slap a teacher.”
“We wouldn’t tolerate that at all,” he said.
Last month, Aubin said students at Westport Junior Senior High School took part in the “devious licks” challenge, which encouraged record themselves stealing classroom items and damaging school property.
“[There was a] soap dispenser that was placed in a commode in the bathroom,” Aubin said.
Aubin said the school district wasn’t able to find any TikTok videos of the bathroom being vandalized, but the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
While the “slap a teacher” challenge hasn’t happened in Westport, Aubin is hoping parents can discourage their kids from participating in these dangerous online trends.
“We’re very fortunate in Westport that we have strong families that would be completely opposed to that behavior,” Aubin said.
“There are very small groups of students who are engaging in this and I think it speaks to a much bigger sociological problem that we need to dig deeper into to make sure that we are meeting whatever is missing in their lives and are trying to help them along,” he continued.
Aubin said while the majority students know better than to vandalize school property and assault teachers, he reminding those who don’t that legal action will be taken when warranted.
“We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law because we have a mission to educate our students,” he said. “We take that mission very seriously and we can’t be letting these things get in the way.”