At least two Butler County school districts are addressing concerns about vandalism spurred by a social media challenge.
Madison and Middletown school officials said they’re concerned about the social media app TikTok, where students have engaged in trends that encourage theft of items from the schools, the destruction of school property, and threats of violence.
Middletown Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. wrote in a district email that Middletown High School has had many such incidents, including restroom vandalism and threats of violence toward students and staff.
“This is completely unacceptable in any school, and we will certainly not tolerate it in our district,” he said. “We take a great deal of pride in our schools and we will continue to ask students to come forward with any information about the vandalism and threats.”
He encouraged parents and guardians to speak to their students about this trend to ensure they understand the severity of their actions. He said these situations will be investigated and students will be subject to disciplinary, and possibly criminal, consequences.
“These behaviors go against our Middie Culture and we ask parents to monitor their student(s') social media accounts, talk to them about appropriate behaviors, and responsible and respectful cell phone use,” he said.
Madison Superintendent Jeff Staggs posted a similar note on the district’s Facebook page. In part, it read, the TikTok Challenge “encourages students to damage and steal school property.”
He asked parents to talk to their children “regarding expectations with behavior and what their actions result in.”
Styles said any student with information regarding who might be stealing from the district, damaging district property, and/or participating in the threats of violence, should email MHS Principal Carmela Cotter at email@example.com or call the Middletown police department at 513-425-7704.