Education won’t suffer if TikTok is banned. Here’s why

It's been great for outreach and culture-building, but educators will simply turn elsewhere, says one former principal.

A couple of weeks ago, President Biden signed a law significantly threatening ByteDance, the owners of TikTok, to sell or be banned in the U.S. For years, lawmakers have alleged that the platform’s Chinese ownership poses severe national security risks.

For educators, however, it’s been a unique tool used to connect with students and build a positive school culture. How would K12 be impacted if TikTok were to be banned? TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew says the app isn’t going anywhere.

We won’t get into whether TikTok is a national public safety threat, but if you want to read up on the controversy, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan nonprofit policy research organization, recently published a comprehensive commentary describing the recent legislation and the alleged risks TikTok poses on its U.S. audience.

Instead, we want to know if its exile would impact the work of those in K12 education who have been using it for good. Educators constantly go viral for the posts they traditionally label #teachersoftiktok. Some are rather comical, allowing teachers to express themselves in hopes that other educators can relate. Take this one, for example:


We’re teachers…😂 #teacher #teachersoftiktok #teachertruth #teacherlife #teachers #funny #joke #student #students #elementaryteacher #teachertok #elementaryteacher #teachertoker #education #trendingsong #trendingvideo #trend #wereteachers #trends #trendingtiktok #fyp #fypage #foryourpage #foryoupageofficiall @Laura Stringfellow

♬ original sound – Ms. Y

David Schexnaydre, executive director of secondary schools at St. Charles Parish Public Schools and Louisiana’s 2023 Principal of the Year, is another example. He says he regularly used the app to build a positive school culture.

Every Monday, students at Harry Hurst Middle School would watch YouTube videos that Schexnaydre constructed as a fun way to deliver weekly announcements. It wasn’t long before the kids told him to bring this content to social media proper. Here’s one of his videos, which earned nearly 500k views on TikTok:


Students get innovative when they forget their IDs!!! #principals #teachersoftiktok #studentsbelike #principalsoftiktok #principalsoffice #poofbegone #studentslife #teachers #fyp #hack #hacks

♬ Smiles & Sunsets – ultmt. & Hz.

“We want to build engagement with our kids and we want our kids to know what things are going on in our school and be part of the culture,” he explains. “You have to be able to reach them and they were all on TikTok.”

It’s a stark contrast to simply communicating your school’s daily updates via the intercom every morning, he explains. Most of the time, students aren’t paying attention.

Media headlines suggest that, if TikTok is banned, students will lose out on a vital resource they’ve been using to deepen their learning on particular subjects. Folks have been using it to learn about finances, connect with study buddies and other ways.

Educators and administrators on the other hand shouldn’t be too concerned if the app does get banned. Schexnaydre says they’ll look elsewhere for opportunities to reach their school communities. Instead, he encourages leaders to use what’s already out there to increase their visibility.

“No one knows about the things you’re doing unless you put it out there,” he explains. Before COVID, for example, he says his school had already established a strong school-parent relationship on Facebook.

“We figured out who our audience was and what the best platform was for them. For parents, it was Facebook. For kids, it was Instagram and TikTok. We catered our communications to those platforms.”

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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