In a bizarre incident that highlights the failings of the endless pursuit of clout, 50 students have been suspended from West Creek High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. The students all participated in a trend that went viral on the popular app TokTok. Clarksville Now reported that the video, posted Thursday evening, gained almost 500,000 likes on the social media app before it was made private by the video’s creator – a sophomore at West Creek High.
Christian Williams states, “I was at school and I was on my phone just going through random Instagram stories. I saw the trend on someone’s page and I’m like, ‘Oh, we need to do this, we need to do this. We could probably go viral for this”.
The offense is the trend itself that features the students using phones and/or hand gestures to simulate guns, as seen in the Nardo Wick single “Who Want Smoke”, as the hook plays in the background. “I think it was at 200,000 (likes) the first three hours,” Williams said. Before he moved the video to where only his mutual followers could see it, the video hit almost 500,000 likes.
The students were gathered into a conference room by the school resource officer and principals and told that a parent called the school regarding the video. They were told that the clip was against the student code of conduct which “warrants discipline”. The district stated that it cannot confirm any disciplinary measures, as that could violate Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) rules, but did state that the principal was suspending all students involved.
Harsh punishment or not, we should all agree that school hours should not be time for social media challenges and trends that don’t revolve around school activities.