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Students victimize teachers with fake, homophobic TikTok profiles

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Middle school students at a wealthy Pennsylvania school victimized 20 educators by making multiple TikTok accounts impersonating them, full of racist and homophobic content and suggestions that they were pedophiles, The New York Times has reported.

The culprit was a group of eighth graders at Great Valley Middle School in Malvern, according to Patrice Motz, a Spanish teacher at the school who found an account impersonating her.

The account had real pictures of her and her family. One of the videos included a picture of her and her family at the beach. The Spanish text over it read, “Do you like to touch kids?”

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“Yes,” it answered.

Following her discovery, 20 faculty members discovered fake TikTok accounts impersonating and accusing them. Hundreds of students viewed, followed, or commented on the accounts’ posts. The students behind the accounts were suspended for a brief period, and the school’s principal lectured the eighth-grade students about using technology appropriately during a lunch period.

Shawn Whitelock, a social studies teacher at the school, also had an account impersonating him. The account posted an image of him standing in a church during his wedding, with his wife mostly cropped out. The caption named a member of the school’s student council and a comment, falsely attributed to Whitelock, said, “I’m gonna touch you.”

Some of the students seemed to feel no remorse for the TikToks. Two female students posted a video after being suspended using the name of a seventh-grade teacher as a handle.

“We never meant for it to get this far, obviously,” one of the students said in the video, “I never wanted to get suspended.”

“Move on. Learn to joke,” the other student said, “I am 13 years old and you’re like 40 going on 50.”

“We’re back, and we’ll be posting again. And we are going to private all the videos at the beginning of next school year,” one added, “’cause then they can’t do anything.”

However, after The New York Times reporter asked the school district to notify parents about the article, the students deleted the video and username. They then added a disclaimer saying “Guys, we’re not acting as our teachers anymore that’s in the past!!”

Teachers, meanwhile, are shaken and deeply concerned about the prevalence of TikTok in their student’s lives.

“Many of my students spend hours and hours and hours on TikTok, and I think it’s just desensitized them to the fact that we’re real people,”  Bettina Scibilia, an eighth-grade English teacher at the school said. “They didn’t feel what a violation this was to create these accounts and impersonate us and mock our children and mock what we love.”

Motz said finding the TikToks made her feel as if she was “kicked in the stomach.”

“It was so deflating,” said Motz, “I can’t believe I still get up and do this every day.”

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