Sydney Gidman | News Editor
A controversial TikTok trend that entails students stealing school property and posting the footage on TikTok, has made its way to Connecticut schools. Some videos depict small items being taken, but others show things like hand soap dispensers, projector screens, paper towel holders, fire extinguishers, and even entire toilets.
Multiple districts including South Windsor and New Britain have sent out emails to parents to talk to their children about the consequences of these actions.
"Please speak with your children about the value of their education and that all students deserve to feel they are learning in a safe environment. This collective responsibility will ensure we rise above the negative presence and influence of social media that is currently encouraging students to vandalize our schools," Superintendent Sarra wrote in the letter.
The principal at Timothy Edwards Middle School in South Windsor wrote to parents, “Please speak with your child about their use of social media and the negative impact these temporary fads could have on our community,” Principal Melissa Morgan-Hostetler said in the email. “Please also know that the administration must take matters of property damage, vandalism and/or theft very seriously and will address them accordingly.”
The damage became so severe The Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, Fran Rabinowitz, spoke out about the trend. She highlighted the consequences the parents themselves could face for their child’s actions. “I am certain, beyond belief, that the videos will be shown and the parents will be responsible for the damages …Broken mirrors, soap dispensers pulled off the walls. Toilet paper holders pulled out. And, I do know there was a smart board unscrewed and taken, fire extinguishers, etc.”.
On September 16th, The Hartford Courant reached out to TikTok for comment. TikTok sent a statement: “We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities. We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior.”
As the trend did not die down, on September 21st, Sen. Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to the chief executive of TikTok urging them to do more to deter students from partaking in this challenge. “You have a responsibility to delete videos, ban users, and restrict hashtags that glorify property damage and threats to school safety to prevent this destructive behavior from spreading,” Blumenthal wrote.
Since, a statement from a TikTok spokesperson was obtained by NBC, where they promised to take action to mitigate the spread of the challenge. “ We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior”.