Olmsted County speaks out against criminal TikTok challenges

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(ABC 6 News) – Local law enforcement is speaking out against viral TikTok challenges encouraging criminal behavior in schools. Certain trends encourage students to vandalize property or sexually assault others. Law enforcement said these "pranks" have criminal consequences.

"All of them were basically criminal in nature. It’s gonna get kids in some serious trouble," Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson said.

Some children are stealing technology from school and tearing apart bathroom stalls. The sheriff used to teach Drug Abuse Resistance Education – also known as D.A.R.E.

He’s dealt with this cycle of bad behavior before. Torgerson says sometimes young people confuse harmless pranks with breaking the law. So far the department has not charged any students. It’s left discipline to the schools

"We try not to get kids brought into the court system," Torgerson said.

Byron Public Schools and School Resource Deputy Tom Olson are working together to create a positive monthly Tik Tok challenge to combat bad behavior.

"We’re trying to turn this around and make this into something that’s a learning experience and educational experience," Torgerson said.

They’re creating short challenges designed to be done in under a minute and posted on the app.

"Things that might be fun. That might be helpful to other people in our community and to their school," he said.

Experts say the best way to get through to students is through their parents and guardians.

"Parents and guardians need to be very aware of what the kids are doing with social media."

The department’s goal is to keep kids out of jailhouses and in the classroom. So far, communicating with parents seems to work, according to Rochester Public Schools. RPS encouraged parents to talk to their children back in September and since then they’ve seen a dramatic decrease in bad behavior.