Short Take: When Tik Tok Dares

Not being a fan or user of Tik Tok, and not being 12 years old or inclined to doing idiotic things because that’s what all the kids do, I have never engaged in a Tik Tok challenge, even though people I know have done so. Most did something silly, like pour ice over their heads because that’s certainly an important way to show the world that you’re against whatever nonsense it was about, not to mention hip. I did not. No one cared.

Police believe that it was a Tik Tok challenge that pushed Covington High School student Larrianna Jackson, 18, to whup her 64-year-old teacher.

That the incident was caught on video lends some credence to the cops’ connection. Would other students have been at the ready, camera rolling, for a student talking to a teacher otherwise? Maybe. It’s hard to say what students will do these days. But what Jackson did was violent and quite serious.

The student, Larrianna Jackson, 18, who attends Covington High School, about 45 miles north of New Orleans, knocked the 64-year-old English teacher to the ground and kept hitting her, the police said on Thursday.

The teacher, who is disabled and has trouble walking, was released from an area hospital after being treated for injuries to her arms and head, Sgt. Edwin Masters, a spokesman for the Covington Police Department, said in an interview. The attack remains under investigation, and additional arrests were expected, the police said.

Investigators seized the cellphones of some other students who recorded the attack, according to Sergeant Masters, who said that at least one of the videos had been posted on Instagram and Snapchat.

Could this beating have been prompted by some dare on Tik Tok? Sure, but it could just as well have been prompted by some beef between the student and teacher, where the student was of the belief that she was entitled to beat her teacher for whatever reasons struck her a justifiable.

Could the recording, and posting to social media, of apparently multiple recordings of the beating be for the purpose of showing Jackson’s acceptance and satisfaction of the dare? Sure, but it’s hard to distinguish that from the more routine compulsion of students to put their every breath on the internet in the hope of adoration by those of a similar intellectual level.

Regardless of whether this was some inane social media challenge to allow the most violent and idiotic students to reveal themselves publicly or just one student whose problems with impulse control will likely leave her with a felony record for the rest of her life, which may never be her responsibility if Tik Tok made her do it, the resort to violence is intolerable.

That the police attribute this act to Tik Tok may be correct or completely misguided. It doesn’t really matter, except to those who have a need to blame Tik Tok, as no social media app can make a person engage in such violence, beat up a 64-year-old teacher, unless she is otherwise inclined to do so. And that’s the first, and most serious, problem.

The second issue is that others stood there, watching, waiting, recording, what they expected to be coming out of this interaction. Is it voyeurism? Narcissism? Some desperate need to be part of something that goes viral, whether for fame or notoriety, to prove their existence? It’s not just that they stood by as they watched Jackson beat a teacher. They weren’t just the audience to this performance, but integral to its being put out into the ether for the world to see and applaud. What comes after striking a teacher isn’t edgy enough to go viral?

11 thoughts on “Short Take: When Tik Tok Dares

    1. Guitardave

      Oh and one other thing…
      “…its being put out into the ether for the world to see and applaud.”

  1. John Barleycorn

    How are these “rad” sociology-s explainer posts of yours gonna make you king of the figurative surf guitar, esteemed one, if your DJs keep slacking off?

  2. Rengit

    One big current TikTok trend is for students to film themselves stealing school supplies from school, with the value of the item being a key part of the challenge. Not too surprised “commit crimes against your school” as a challenge might have escalated to delivering beatdowns to teachers.

    1. SHG Post author

      Is there really peer pressure from some disembodied online rando? In person, it would be understandable, but it’s not as if the rando knows who some other rando is in real life.

      1. LY

        Unfortunately, for kids these days the online “friends” are more there peers have more influence than almost any flesh and blood person they interact with.

  3. Bryan Burroughs

    If this had happened at a local middle school that my wife definitely doesn’t work at, the principal would have taken the kid out for Chic-Fil-A afterwards. Because restorative justice, or something.

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