Parent says local school district wrongfully punished her son for participating in TikTok challenge

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — We first told you last week about a new TikTok challenge, encouraging vandalism at schools and leading to costly repairs.

One Mid-South parent is now speaking out against a local school district for wrongfully punishing her son for participating.

RELATED: New TikTok challenge encouraging kids to destroy, steal school property

This parent said her son was intimidated and coerced by adults at Bartlett High School into confessing to something he didn’t do.

Now she wants justice.

“He told Sam if he didn’t write a confession that he was going to have the sheriff take him to jail and charge me a $1,000,” said Erika Dean, a parent.

Dean is speaking out against Bartlett High School Principal Tim Jones and Assistant Principal Jason Taylor after she said they coerced her son, Sammy Cannon, into saying he participated in the Devious Lick Challenge by spraying Kool-aid on a wall at school.

“Or he could sign a confession and only be suspended for five days and I pay $50,” Dean said.

“When he told me that I got really scared,” Cannon said, the student.

So, Sammy said he signed the confession even though he did not do what he was accused of.

“The principal, as I was signing my OSS form,” he said. “You’ve done some stupid stuff, but nothing this stupid. So, he was basically calling me stupid.”

Dean said Principal Jones had no evidence her son vandalized school property. Just the coerced confession.

“I’ve had several run-ins with him. There are smart things he’s said. And I truly believe he’s racist,” Dean said.

We reached out to Bartlett City Schools for a statement.

Here is the response we received from a spokesperson:

Bartlett City Schools (BCS) is aware of the situation referenced in your email. While BCS does not comment on individual student discipline matters, the district has dealt with a number of disciplinary incidents as a result of the viral TikTok school vandalism challenge.

Student investigations and discipline are applied consistently in accordance with established Board policy and the student code of conduct. Any reported race-related grievances are taken extremely seriously and are immediately addressed at both the school and district levels.

Dean said she has filed a complaint with the superintendent over this incident and may take legal action against the administrators involved.