‘Unfortunate and ill-conceived prank’: School investigates after TikTok challenge reaches Utah

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IRON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Iron County Schools are conducting an investigation after a student posted an “unfortunate and ill-conceived prank” online. 

Iron County Schools took to social media with a statement saying “Iron County School officials as well as local law enforcement were made aware of an inappropriate and offensive student posting the same day it surfaced on social media,” the school states.

“District administrators began an immediate investigation and have determined that a single student was responsible for posting a group photo with the accompanying offensive caption,” a statement from Iron County Schools reads. “Students in the photo were not posing for nor participating in the unfortunate and ill-conceived prank.” 

Darin Adams, Chief of Police for the Cedar City Police Department tells ABC4 “the investigation revealed that the student was likely participating in a National Tik Tok challenge.

TikTok users are saying a group of men has declared April 24 a “national day” for carrying out sexual assault.

Multiple TikTok users have made videos to make others aware of the possible threat. 

A search for #April24th2021 on TikTok brings up many videos regarding the declared day. Officials say it is currently unclear where the April 24 trend originated or why. Some users suggest the trend may be a disturbing joke but many still advised caution.

On April 20, Iron County Schools took to social media saying “Cedar High School administration and Iron County School District are keenly aware of the social media post that was sent by students and are actively addressing the situation according to school policies. There is no viable threat to the safety of our students from this post.”

The district says they are working “closely together to address concerns of the larger student body, especially female students, and the community to make sure that all students feel secure.” 

School officials say, that as with any other unsettling situation, all students have access to counselors, specialists, and administrators to help resolve their concerns and address their needs. 

“District and school officials are following established policies and guidelines to address these circumstances,” the statement later read. 

The district says they hope to use this situation as a “teaching opportunity to help those directly involved, and the larger student community, understand what it means to be socially responsible, respectful and that harassment in any form is unacceptable.”

Canyon Creek Services, a 25-year-old service that works to make communities free of domestic violence and sexual assault also took to social media showing support for the efforts being taken within the Iron County School District, by Cedar High School and the Cedar City Police Department. 

“We applaud our partners at the Iron County Schools District, Cedar High School (Official) and Cedar City Police Department for their diligence and hard work in ensuring the safety of our community and local students in addressing this incident swiftly and appropriately,” the statement reads. “We are relieved that only one student was responsible for sharing the inappropriate message in this particular instance.”

“In the wake of all of the “National Rape Day” social media phenomena, Canyon Creek Services reiterates our continuing call to action for community members to stand in solidarity to support violence prevention efforts. This unfortunate and disturbing situation highlights the persistent need for comprehensive and consistent prevention education and programs to stop these situations from ever happening in the first place.” 

Canyon Creek Services says it is asking community members to use this as an opportunity to educate themselves and those around you, particularly youth, about healthy relationships, boundaries, consent, and the seriousness and impact that sexual assault has on individuals, families, and communities.

The Cedar City Police Department, also took to social media addressing the prank.

“The Cedar City PD, Cedar High School administration and Iron County School District are aware of the social media post that was sent by students. Our School Resource Officer has been investigating the situation closely with the school and there is no credible threat.”

Calls for additional information from Iron County School District and the Cedar City Police Department were not immediately returned. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Sexual Assault Assistance: If you or someone you know needs help, call the Rape & Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-421-1100.

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