A Louisiana high school student is facing charges of battery after punching her differently-abled teacher in class, an attack that may have been inspired by a TikTok challenge.
According to the police, Larrianna Jackson, 18, a student of Covington High School approached her 64-year-old English teacher at her desk when most of the students had left the classroom after the final dismissal bell. She knocked her down before raining multiple punches, police told The Straits Times.
The attack, which police believe may have been inspired by a TikTok challenge, was recorded on video by other students.
Ms Jackson, who is being held in the Tammany Parish Jail, may face one to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000(over £3000) if convicted of the charge of battery, authorities said.
Spokesperson for the Covington Police Department Sergeant Edwin Masters said to The Straits Times that the teacher had been treated for her injuries and released from the hospital. He also said that while the police had seized the phones of some students who had recorded the video, at least one video had been uploaded on Facebook and Instagram.
Police are investigating if the attack was part of the TikTok challenge “Slap a Teacher” for the month of October.
“There’s just talk among students and faculty that it may be related to the TikTok challenge,” said the sergeant master.
School authorities, however, said that there is no evidence yet to prove that the attack was inspired by the TikTok challenge.
“The school system is taking the appropriate disciplinary action against all students involved. We don’t have any evidence from our investigation that this incident is related to the TikTok challenge, but any acts of violence, including participation in illegal social media trends, will not be tolerated in our school system,” Frank Jabbia, the superintendent of St Tammany Parish Public Schools told The Straits Times.
On Wednesday, TikTok denied in a statement that any such trend had been trending on its platform and promised to remove such content, reported Bloomberg.
However incidents of attacks on teachers as a part of the viral challenge have been reported from across the US. NBC Washington reported that a student had attacked a Braintree Public Schools staff on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong wrote to the video sharing platform on Monday asking it “to commit to reforms that stops this reckless content”.
The California Teachers Association has also issued a warning to educators in a post on Facebook on Tuesday.