Attack on teacher may have been inspired by social media challenge, police say

A Louisiana high school student faces assault and battery charge after repeatedly hitting a teacher in a classroom Wednesday, authoritie...


A Louisiana high school student faces assault and battery charge after repeatedly hitting a teacher in a classroom Wednesday, authorities said, an attack that was videotaped and may have been inspired by a challenge TikTok.

But TikTok said in a statement that the alleged challenge was not trending on its app and that it did not allow videos promoting violence.

Student Larrianna Jackson, 18, who attends Covington High School, about 75 miles north of New Orleans, knocked down the 64-year-old English teacher and kept beating her, the police announced on Thursday.

The teacher, who is disabled and has difficulty walking, was released from an area hospital after being treated for arm and head injuries, Sgt. Edwin Masters, spokesperson for the Covington Police Department, said in an interview. The attack is still under investigation and more arrests are expected, police said.

Investigators seized the cell phones of other students who recorded the attack, according to Sergeant Masters, who said at least one of the videos was posted on Instagram and Snapchat.

Police were trying to determine if the attack was part of a so-called TikTok Challenge, a teenage social media craze that critics say could escalate by recording videos of acts of theft and vandalism to document assaults.

“The so-called TikTok challenge for the month of October was: slap a teacher,” said Sgt. Masters. “There is just some discussion among students and faculty that it might be related to the TikTok challenge.”

It was not immediately clear whether Ms Jackson, who was still being held at St. Tammany Parish Prison Thursday, had a lawyer. She could face one to five years in prison and a fine of $ 5,000 if convicted of the charge of assaulting a teacher, authorities said.

In a statement Thursday, Frank J. Jabbia, the superintendent of public schools for St. Tammany Parish, condemned the attack. He said, however, that school officials were unable to link the attack to a TikTok challenge.

“This attack is concerning, as is the fact that other students stood aside, recorded it and posted it on social media,” Jabbia said. “The school system takes appropriate disciplinary action against all students involved. We have no evidence from our investigation that this incident is related to the TikTok Challenge, but no acts of violence, including participation in illegal trends on social media, will be tolerated in our school system.

TikTok condemned any efforts to use its app to promote violence and said on Twitter Wednesday that these types of videos were banned from the platform.

“The rumor of ‘slapping a teacher’ is an insult to educators around the world,” TikTok said. “And while it’s not a trend on TikTok, if at any point it does appear, the content will be removed.”

The attack happened around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, just after the last holiday bell rang, Sgt. Masters said. Most of the students had already left the classroom when Ms Jackson approached the teacher, who was sitting at her desk, according to Sergeant Masters and a video taken by another student that was released by Covington Police.

Seconds before the first punch is fired, someone in the video says, “I’m going to start running. The camera had already rotated for over 22 seconds in the video, which included a caption, “It’s covington fa ya”, along with a skull emoji.

The video showed the student, identified by authorities as Ms. Jackson, punching the teacher several times before the recording stopped.

“The video is circulating very heavily right now,” said Sgt. Masters.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Attack on teacher may have been inspired by social media challenge, police say
Attack on teacher may have been inspired by social media challenge, police say
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