Published in Mobiles

Eighth graders organise TikTok revolt

by on09 July 2024

We don’t need no education -- hey, kids, leave those teachers alone

Eighth graders in a posh Philadelphia suburb launched a rather extreme online harassment campaign against their teachers.

The New York Times dubbed it “the first known group TikTok attack of its kind by middle schoolers on their teachers in the United States.”

In their infinite wisdom, these Great Valley Middle School students created at least 22 fake accounts to impersonate about 20 teachers in the most offensive ways imaginable.

Long-serving, dedicated educators were depicted with “paedophilia innuendo, racist memes,” and homophobic posts, not to mention fabrications of “sexual hookups among teachers.”

In a bid to calm the storm, Principal Edward Souders emailed parents saying that the number of students behind the fake accounts was probably “small.”

However, hundreds of students jumped on the bandwagon, leaving comments and following these fake accounts. Some students grassed on their mates, allowing everyone involved to be rounded up.

 Souders urged parents to chat with their kids about responsible social media use and to report any online impersonation or cyberbullying. Some students claimed it was all just a joke that went too far. Sure, because nothing says “funny” like ruining someone’s reputation.

Superintendent Daniel Goffredo chimed in, describing the impact on teachers as “profound.” One teacher felt “kicked in the stomach” by the students’ “savage” behaviour, while another accused them of slander and character assassination. Both were depicted in fake posts with paedophilia innuendo.

Goffredo urged parents to use the summer to discuss responsible technology use with their children, stressing that what seems like a joke can have profound and lasting impacts.

The school district explored legal responses but found their hands tied because courts generally protect students’ rights to off-campus free speech, including parodying or disparaging educators online—unless the posts threaten others or disrupt school.

In the end, the middle school briefly suspended several students and held an eighth-grade assembly on the harms of cyberbullying, inviting parents to join.


Last modified on 09 July 2024
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