'Zero tolerance': Minnesota school cracks down on TikTok challenges

Minnesota students and school officials are responding to a TikTok challenge that is causing problems across the country.

Students outside Bloomington Jefferson High School reported witnessing some bathroom vandalism and theft last month, all part of TikTok challenge that swept across the country.

"They just take it. It can be a stall door…they just take it. And, there’s no stall door, I guess," one student said.

"At first it was kinda funny, but then people started going over the line with all the trends," another student added. 

Short videos on social media detail the mayhem and destruction of property, with students - primarily at the middle and high school level - often imitating each other or competing against each other.

"We got wise to it fairly quickly, so our principals and staff started to monitor the bathrooms on a very frequent basis," said Rick Kaufman, spokesman with Bloomington Public Schools.

Kaufman said there were some early issues, leading to disciplinary action and warning letters sent home to parents. Then, the concerns amped up as the school calendar flipped to October.

The latest monthly TikTok challenge is "smack a staff member," and Kaufman made it clear there will be zero tolerance for such behavior.

"We will not tolerate students smacking the backsides of any other students or adults, particularly teachers, as the challenge calls for. This is simple assault," he said.

In a statement, the President of Education Minnesota, Denise Specht, wrote, "Nearly everyone in Minnesota wants their public schools to be safe, welcoming and effective for everyone in the school community of parents, students and educators. Violent and disrespectful acts against educators damage that community in profound ways, especially now. For the good of our schools, we hope parents and school administrators will communicate to students in advance that this social media stunt comes with serious consequences. Minnesota’s public schools are the home away from home for tens of thousands of Minnesotans of all ages. It is time to come together -- students and staff -- to protect our house against the TikTok trendsetters who aim to harm us all."

Education Minnesota said that later this week, it will provide its members with more information and resources about the TikTok challenge.