ESD 112 Insurance Programs Risk Alert

Dear Risk Cooperative Member:

Trends and challenges from TikTok and other social media platforms do infiltrate the school day. While many are harmless, some trends do pose a threat to student safety and school property. We encourage school administrators to be aware of current social media trends and open dialogue with students about the dangers and consequences of participating in some trends.

In recent weeks, the hashtag "deviouslicks" or the "bathroom challenge" has been trending. This trend encourages students to record themselves vandalizing school bathrooms and stealing school property. Examples of stolen items are fire alarms, Covid supplies, signs, and bathroom mirrors. Schools across the country feel the effects of this trend and have had to discipline students, increase surveillance of bathroom facilities, shut down restrooms, and implement bathroom use approval systems. School staff are working with students to help them understand that participating in the "deviouslicks" challenge or other similarly disruptive and harmful trends can result in school discipline and even real-world legal implications.

Other popular but dangerous trends include "dry scooping" and the "milk crate challenge." In "dry scooping," the participant swallows a scoop of pre-workout or protein powder dry instead of mixing it with water first. This concentrated ingestion has led to reported choking, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and brain swelling. The "milk crate challenge," which involves stacking milk crates, like those present in a school cafeteria, into a pyramid and then trying to run over the top of them, has caused severe head and spinal injuries and numerous broken bones.

While TikTok and other social media platforms try to block and remove content from dangerous challenges, this process takes time. Your students will likely be familiar with the challenges before removal is possible.

To help protect students from injury and district property from damage as a result of social media challenges, please consider the following:
  • Educate students and their guardians that participating in particular social media challenges or trends can have real-life repercussions such as suspension, bodily injury, or even a felony charge.
  • Be aware that while most social media platforms are advertised for 13 years and older, elementary and junior high-aged students are still seeing and participating in the challenges.
  • Review your digital citizenship and media literacy policy (WSSDA 2023) with students and guardians. Specifically outline how this policy relates to social media challenges and trends.
  • Monitor current social media challenges and be prepared to implement safety precautions and increased supervision as necessary.
  • Remind students of your anonymous reporting system and encourage them to use it if they know a student is putting themselves, others, or property in danger.
  • If student attempts at unsafe or destructive challenges are prevalent in your district, consider re-evaluating the student cell phone policy to limit challenge recording opportunities during school hours and activities.
If you have any questions about the above recommendations, don't hesitate to reach out to your ESD 112 Risk Management team.
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