Pennsylvania middle schoolers impersonated teachers on TikTok, district says

(The Hill) -- A group of middle schoolers in Pennsylvania created numerous fake TikTok accounts, impersonating teachers with captions that paint the adults making inappropriate comments.  

A group of eighth graders in the Great Valley School District (GVSD) in Chester County made around 20 fake TikTok accounts of teachers filled with pedophilic and homophobic remarks, racist memes and rumors about sexual hookups between the staff, according to The New York Times, which first reported the fake profiles.

“I reiterate my disappointment and sadness that our students’ behavior has caused such duress for our staff. Seeing GVSD in such a prominent place in the news for behavior like this is also disheartening,” Daniel Goffredo, the district’s superintendent, said.

One teacher from the school told the Times that seeing the accounts were “so deflating” and she “can’t believe I still get up and do this every day.”

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The outlet found a video on TikTok of two of the middle schoolers claiming the teachers were overreacting about the situation.

“Move on. Learn to joke,” one student said about a teacher. “I am 13 years old,” adding, “and you’re like 40 going on 50.” 

The district has suspended numerous students but emphasized in its statement that there is not much more administrators can do.

“While it may be easy to react in a way that suggests that students should have been more heavily disciplined in school, some, but not all, of their behavior is protected by the right of free speech and expression,” Goffredo said. 

“After consulting with our legal counsel, and based on each unique posting, the district enacted whatever discipline it could, communicated with families, and implemented measures in an effort to prevent future behavior like this,” he added.  

The issue adds a new layer to schools that are starting to deal with AI bullying in schools and deep fake photos and videos getting made of students and teachers.  

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