COVINGTON, La. — A disabled high school teacher was attacked Thursday by a student who was prompted by a TikTok challenge that has gone viral, according to police.
Police arrested Larrianna Jackson, 18, and booked her with assault of a teacher, a felony in Louisiana. Ms. Jackson remained in St. Tammany Jail on Thursday.
The name of the 64-year-old injured teacher was not released.
Other students taped the attack on their cellphones, as it apparently is tied to a viral TikTok trend called “devious licks.” In the video of Wednesday’s assault, a student who police say is Ms. Jackson can be seen raining blows on the teacher after an initial punch knocks her off her chair.
Each month, students are encouraged to post videos of themselves performing some sort of vandalistic or felonious act, and for October the challenge is “smack a staff member.”
Already, the challenge has led to incidents in Missouri and South Carolina and has prompted the California teachers union to send an advisory that educators treat the “pranks” as crimes.
“Slapping a teacher, regardless of whether it results in injury, is assault and battery and is completely unacceptable and illegal,” the California Teachers Association said. “Recording in a classroom on other school property without permission is illegal.”
Covington Police are executing search warrants for cell phones that may have taped Wednesday’s attack and future arrests are expected, they said.
TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, have not commented on the phenomenon. The platform is popular with younger users for posting videos.
Authorities are concerned by what appears to be escalating possibilities of violence. Next month, the challenge will be to “kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school,” and by January participants are expected to “jab a breast.”
• James Varney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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