NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Connecticut News

Following a school closure caused by TikTok, New Britain holds an emergency meeting with officials

Connecticut AG William Tong speaks at an emergency summit at New Britain High School flanked by U.S. Senator Richard  Blumenthal and New Britain School Superintendent Nancy Sarra.
Ebong Udoma
/
WSHU Public Radio
Connecticut AG William Tong speaks at an emergency summit at New Britain High School flanked by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and New Britain School Superintendent Nancy Sarra.

In Connecticut, students and parents are concerned about vandalism at New Britain High School following a viral TikTok challenge. They reached out for an emergency summit with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and state Attorney General William Tong.

New Britain High School was closed for a day in September because of TikTok’s “devious licks” challenge. Students across the country vandalized bathrooms and other school property.

Brayam Ortiz, a senior at the school, urged the elected officials to hold the social media firm accountable for the algorithm that promoted the challenge.

“These algorithms there are no good. They are not helping us students; they are not helping us teachers. All they do is out something in front of us that we don’t want to see,” Ortiz said.

Attorney General Tong said he’s written to TikTok questioning the “devious licks” challenge.

“I did get a response from TikTok and I expect that they would be giving more information and coming here to Connecticut to answer questions,” Tong said.

Blumenthal said he’ll share their concerns at U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings focused on demanding more transparency from social media companies.

“So that parents have knowledge about what their kids are doing and more tools so parents can protect their kids from the destructive content that Facebook, Instagram, TikTok are pushing,” Blumenthal said.

TikTok said they are removing content and hashtags to discourage the “devious licks" trend.