- Teachers in Clark County, Nevada threatened to walk off the job next month after the district refused to give raises to staff members who had furthered their education, despite previously promising to do so.
- One student explained the situation in a TikTok post and urged students to hold their own strike in support of their teachers.
- The post went viral and prompted other students to speak out on similar issues in their schools.
- The strikes were suspended after the district and teachers union struck a deal Wednesday night, which included raises and more funding for health insurance.
Teachers Organize Strike
Teens used the popular short-form video app TikTok to support high school teachers in Nevada this week after a teachers strike was threatened by a local school district.
Teachers in Clark County planned a walkout on Sept. 10 to protests against the school district for failing to honor a promise it had made regarding their salaries. Educators were previously told they would earn raises so long as they furthered their education by completing professional development courses. But the district later refused to follow through on that agreement, saying it lacked the funds to do so.
The consequences of the strike would have been devastating for the school district, which is the fifth-largest in the nation. In response to the news of picketing, the district filed an emergency court motion to block the strike and have a judge issue an order against it. If the order was imposed, the union could have faced fines of up to $50,000 a day.
Still, Clark County teachers felt they had no choice but to take a stand.
TikTok Post Goes Viral
Many local students were also outraged by the situation, including 16-year-old Gillian Sullivan who took her frustration over to TikTok.
Sullivan, whose mom has worked for the district for more than 20 years, uploaded a video on the app where she explained the situation, saying the district would not pay teachers who had “spent the past three years earning enough credits out of their own pockets, spending extra hours outside of school to earn credits to get a raise.”
“Personally, I don’t think this is fair and I’m kind of sick of our district thinking its okay to walk all over students and teachers all of the time,” she added. “If you’re sick of this too, and you want respect for yourself as a student but also for your teachers, please strike Sept. 5 because I’m done, and you should be too. Teachers deserve more respect than that. And it’s disgusting.”
Within days Sullivan’s video spread throughout the app and was viewed by users from all over the globe. Many commented about similar issues in their own school districts and promised to help raise awareness in whatever ways they could.
“I’m not even in ccsd but [I] still shared trying to do something to help,” one user commented. ”Solidarity,” others wrote.
Others shared the post in typical TikTok fashion, using the app’s duet function.
In another post, Sullivan responded to users who said their school districts were just as bad if not worse. She argued that the entire school system in the U.S. is flawed and encouraged all students to skip school on Sept. 5. “Everyone is saying their school district is bad. Nationally, the school system is broken and we can fix it by not going to school and the government realizing that we all see a problem as teenagers.”
Her posts also made their way onto Twitter, where they picked up more praise and support. They also inspired others to upload similar TikToks, including another student in her district, 17-year-old Leonardo Bueno.
In a three-part TikTok post, he talked about a lack of funds for school programs and rules that stop clubs or sports teams from raising their own funds. He also encouraged the student strike saying, “We should also be speaking up about teachers being underpaid and not getting their salary.”
“Teachers put their life and dedication in teaching us, because they are teaching the future of this country.”
While many seemed prepared to participate in the student and teacher strikes, those plans have since been called off.
Union and District Reach Deal
Late Wednesday, the Clark County School District and the Clark County Education Association said they had reached a tentative agreement to resolve the issue. The agreement includes a salary increase for the educators who completed their professional development programs, as well as a 3% raise and more funding for health insurance.
The deal still needs to be ratified by union executives and district trustees, according to the Associated Press. However, it seems that both sides expect no issues with approving the move.
It’s unclear how much of a role, if any, the TikToks played in the decision, but Sullivan and others felt the spread of the news surely had an impact.
Sullivan took to TikTok once more to share the news saying, “Through social media and people actively speaking out, we got what we wanted.“
“I’m really happy, I’m really grateful for everybody who liked, commented and shared my post because it allowed for a lot more people to be informed about the issue within the school district including students.”
“Thank you to our teachers,” she added. “I’m so happy they’re getting their raise … we did it, guys. Give yourselves a pat on the back. Give yourselves a high five. We won.”
See what others are saying: (Buzzfeed News) (Huffington Post) (US News)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.