Middle schoolers impersonated dozens of teachers on TikTok; concocted sexual rumors, offensive narratives

A group of Pennsylvania middle school students created fictitious TikTok accounts to impersonate teachers while making inappropriate comments, officials said Monday. 

The New York Times reported that a group of eighth graders in the Great Valley School District (GVSD) in Chester County made around 20 fake TikTok accounts impersonating teachers. The accounts were filled with pedophilic and homophobic remarks, racist memes and rumors about sexual hookups between staff members. 

“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,” said district Superintendent Daniel Goffredo.

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One Spanish teacher at Great Valley Middle School told the Times she found a profile with a real photo of her at the beach with her husband and their young children. 

“Do you like to touch kids?” a text in Spanish over the family vacation photo asked. “Answer: Sí,” the report said. 

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

Goffredo said the district investigated, contacted local police, and tracked down some of the accounts. Nonetheless, more fake TikTok accounts may still be out there, Fox Philadelphia reported.

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“Unfortunately, we do know that accounts have been created throughout the summer months. It’s disheartening,” he said. 

The district took actions against some of the students implicated but did not disclose what the actions were. 

“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. 

The head of the local teachers union says her members want to instruct students on how to responsibly use social media.

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“We’re heartbroken because what we do is educate our students. We never want to see anyone make choices that could hurt their reputations,” said Vikki Salvatico, Greater Valley Education Association.