TikTok Challenges, Fictitious Letters, and Elfin Ears

The honeymoon at my school is decidedly over. How about yours?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It’s 5:40 A.M. on a Sunday. My stomach hurts. My head hurts. For the first time this school year, I’m actually allowing myself to not want to go to school tomorrow.

Why? This week alone, we were alerted to monthly TikTok challenges, some of which are absolutely disgusting and actually illegal.

October is “smack a staff member” month, for example. Well, as my colleague said, “If anyone smacks me, they will be in a world of legal hurt.” Amen. The challenges only get worse from there.

In addition to that horror, we also received notice that a letter is going around to parents using our letterhead, advising parents there will be a “Mandatory Genital Inspection” in the gym this week. That’s disgusting too. Whoever did it could face legal consequences.

Apparently, the TikTok challenges and that letter are examples of school pranks going national. It’s not just our school. It could be yours too.

Finally, we have kids cosplaying in the school, wearing all sorts of stuff — like the elfin ears I mentioned in the title. If it were only that, I would shrug it off, but in some cases, it’s like ComicCon is happening in the building.

Since we decided to ditch the uniform dress code this year, this is the thanks we get, I suppose.

Students and Staff Want This to Stop

Teachers and staff aren’t the only ones upset by what is happening. Many students are upset.

They believe these pranks go too far. They want their bathrooms back (the September challenge was to destroy school bathrooms). They don’t want staff hurt or even touched.

They think kids are taking the relaxed dress code to extremes. “This is why we can’t have nice things,” they say. Indeed.

They also want to know what happened to their classmates after 18 months of being shut up in their bedrooms, attempting (or not) to learn through a screen. I do too.

There’s only so much grace we can extend. Last year, we had to accept that several students would do absolutely nothing while attending school online. We had to accept that several students set an alarm, took a nap, and woke up in time to join the next conference. We also had to worry if our likeness was going to show up in a meme somewhere. That was nothing compared to this.

Can you understand why I don’t want to go to school?

Don’t We All Have Enough to Contend With?

Mobile Phones

I mean, it’s hard enough to deal with the mobile phones, which demand the students’ attention more than I do (apparently). When I told a class to put the phones away, I heard, “And what if we don’t?”

I responded, “There are twenty-four students in this room and one of me. I will not stand for nonsense. Review your student handbook and find the consequences for noncompliance.”

Would you have said that to a teacher? I mean, EVER? I wouldn’t. I may have gotten in trouble for that in school, but at home, it would have been so much worse.


To add to that, we have to deal with mask issues. People, wearing/not wearing a mask is not a political statement. It’s a health issue. Wear it and keep it on.

The problem is that community members have made it an issue. Just down the road, where I used to live, Steve Lynch forced the school district to bring in more security because he was going to bring “twenty strong men” to the next board meeting to remove school board members who approved masks in the schools.

This guy is running for county executive. If he wins, heaven help Northampton County.

What are we teaching our kids when adults advocate violence? What are we teaching our kids, period? This is preposterous.

All the Other Usual You-Know-What

These serious issues make all the other typical discipline issues look like child’s play in comparison. Ah, to return to the good old days.

Can you understand why I don’t want to go to school?

Final Thoughts

They’re just pranks, some may say. No big deal.

No, they aren’t.

September’s challenge involves damage to and theft of school property. October’s challenge is assault. Kids have already been arrested for doing stupid things, like stealing soap dispensers. Who will be arrested for assault?

TikTok has said it will remove references to these challenges, etc., etc., etc. Right, OK. I’ll believe that when I see it.

It won’t be soon enough, though. News travels so fast, faster than an algorithm can identify the videos and remove them. How many people will see them before TikTok identifies them? Oh, and we’ll need that video to make an arrest, so keep it in an archive, TikTok.

Adults within the learning community need to do something. We can’t take our schools back without all adult stakeholders involved. A few students are making school life impossible for the rest of us.

How many other teachers and staff members don’t want to go to school tomorrow?

Thank you for reading this post. I look forward to your comments.

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