DENVER (KDVR) — Law enforcement agencies across metro Denver are issuing a warning to students over a series of social media challenges that involve committing various crimes on school property.
September’s challenge involved vandalizing school bathrooms, an issue reported in districts statewide.
“Right now to them, it’s a joke,” Douglas County Deputy Gabe Uribe said. “What’s concerning is that from being funny to committing a crime is a very thin line.”
Uribe is a school resource officer at STEM School Highlands Ranch, where he says students have been ripping off bathroom doors as part of the challenge.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office shared a calendar with the Problem Solvers showing additional challenges scheduled for upcoming months.
October’s challenge is to “Smack a staff member on the backside” followed by a November challenge to “Kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school.”
A full list of the challenges is posted at the bottom of this article.
“They don’t understand that this is actually a crime,” he said. “That’s assault. It could be harassment.”
‘Potential life-long consequences’
In Jefferson County, Deputy Eric Ebling said they’ve had issues at Columbine High School as well. He was disappointed to learn the challenges were a monthly idea.
“Where does it end? There’s really no limit to where these things can go,” he said.
From interactions with students, Ebling said it’s all about being relevant and trying to one-up friends.
“It seems to be that everyone’s pretty aware of what the next coming challenge is,” he said.
Both law enforcement agencies say they have not received any reports of teachers being assaulted as part of the October challenge, but they say parents need to share the consequences with students before the actions take place.
“It’s not worth that moment of fame for potential life-long consequences,” Ebling said.
Both departments recommend reporting videos with criminal actions to law enforcement either directly or through Safe2Tell.
“I encourage parents to talk to their students, ask them questions. If they know what’s happening, or who’s doing it, to come talk to us,” Uribe said.