Social media creating culture where educators are targeted: National Education Association

The union representing teachers across the nation is calling out tech companies.

The National Education Association says social media has created a culture where educators are being targeted.

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NEA wrote the letter to the CEOs of Facebook, TikTok and Twitter on Friday. It references both social media challenges and parents who have consumed false information.

"We have not heard back yet, but we are open to a dialogue with all of the tech companies out there," said Karen White, NEA Deputy Executive Director.

White is also an Anne Arundel County mother who says she’s heard about the Devious Licks Tik Tok challenges in her daughter’s school.

READ MORE: Virginia schools issue warnings about ongoing Tik Tok challenges

Schools across the country have seen students vandalizing school bathrooms, and last week in Pennsylvania, four people were arrested for vandalizing buses and other property. Police attribute it to the challenge.

More recently our area school districts have warned parents about new challenges including ‘slap a teacher.’

An 18-year-old student from Louisiana was arrested last week after police say she punched her disabled teacher in the face while other students filmed it, posting the video on Snapchat and Instagram according to media reports.

The student, Larrianna Jackson, is facing a felony charge and 5 years behind bars.

READ MORE: 'TikTok Challenge' in a Stafford park bathroom leads to criminal charges

The NEA letter to tech leaders mentions online trends, but also conspiracy theories and "propaganda" that’s causing educators to fear for their safety.

It references "a small but violent group of radicalized adults" that have threatened school leaders over misinformation on critical race theory and mask mandates.

White says social media companies need to do more.

"Our belief is tech companies, just like citizens, have a responsibility," said White. "We want to make sure that when there’s misinformation or frankly, flat out lies, on those platforms they have to call it out and they have to stop it. We all have a responsibility to make sure these threats aren’t continuing."


A spokesperson for TikTok tells FOX 5 the platform has not seen the ‘slap a teacher’ challenge, calling it a rumor.

"This alleged 'challenge' would violate our policies and we would aggressively remove such content, but the reality is that we have not found related content on our platform, and most people appear to be learning about the offline dare from sources other than TikTok," the company said in a statement.

The company also says it removes all content that promotes criminal activity. There was no specific response to the NEA letter.

Facebook and Twitter didn’t return requests for comment Monday.