WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Two middle school students are now facing criminal charges after the “skull-breaker challenge” left their classmate seriously injured.
- The 13-year-old boy suffered a major concussion and a seizure, and spent 24 hours in the hospital.
- The two Cherry Hill students involved in the challenge have been charged with third-degree aggravated assault and third-degree endangering an injured victim.
Two students from New Jersey are now facing criminal charges after the “skull-breaker challenge” left their classmate seriously injured.
The said challenge is one of the dangerous games that have gone viral on the social media app TikTok in recent months.
It involves three people who agree that they will all jump side-by-side at the same time. But it’s only meant to trick the middle person into jumping while the other two kicks their feet from under them, making them fall on their head.
Stacy Shenker told NBC News that her 13-year-old son was non-responsive by the time she got to the seventh-grader’s middle school in Cherry Hill roughly 20 minutes later. When first responders arrived, they told her that he had suffered a seizure.
She said, “Initially, we didn’t know what happened. At that point, we had never heard of the prank.”
It was only during the hospital tests when the school informed Shenker’s husband that his son had been injured in the skull-breaker challenge.
The dangerous game has resulted in several other injuries.
Shenker’s son spent more than 24 hours in the hospital.
She recounted, “It was really very scary. My son is slowly making progress.”
He was able to go back to school after his parents and the school agreed on “academic accommodations”. He also recently started physical therapy so he can play sports again.
According to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, the two Cherry Hill students accused of injuring Shenker’s son have been charged with third-degree aggravated assault and third-degree endangering an injured victim.
Shenker hopes to raise awareness on the dangerous challenges in TikTok. She urged other parents to follow their children on the social media app to keep up with what they are doing.
She said, “Parents need to know about this because it could happen again. It’s really opened our eyes to what is out there.”
Cherry Hill Public Schools superintendent Joseph Meloche responded to the incident in a Feb. 27 letter to the community.
“Recently, a few CHPS students attempted to replicate ‘pranks’ or ‘challenges’ they saw on Tik Tok, and other platforms, resulting in classmates being injured — physically and emotionally,” Meloche wrote.
He advised, “Often, children act impulsively and without considering the consequence of their actions. If your child has an electronic device, ask them to share what apps they are viewing and using. Help them to understand the extreme unintended outcomes that may occur because of a fleeting moment of making a bad choice.”
TikTok had previously addressed concerns in a Feb. 27 post on its website, which explained that it does not allow content “that encourages or replicates dangerous challenges that might lead to injury.”