South Orange middle school student hospitalized after social media 'blackout challenge'

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
South Orange middle schooler hospitalized after 'blackout challenge'
Anthony Johnson has the latest in South Orange, New Jersey on the dangers of this social media trend.

ESSEX COUNTY, New Jersey (WABC) -- School administrators in New Jersey are warning parents about another concerning social-media challenge that can put kids in danger.

Lynn Irby Hill, the principal at the South Orange Middle School in South Orange, sent out a letter to parents Tuesday about the "blackout challenge" becoming popular on TikTok.

The challenge involves students holding their breath until they pass out and there have been deaths reported as a result of kids participating in the challenge.

"These incidents are very scary and very avoidable. We will continue to warn our students about the dangers of the 'blackout challenge' and most, if not all, challenges promoted on social media," Hill said in the letter.

The school reported two incidents of students passing out.

Aid was rendered to one of the students by the school's nursing staff while the other had to be transported to the hospital after having difficulty breathing once they regained consciousness.

Hill asked parents to help by discussing the dangers associated with the social media challenge with their children at home.

"We really need our families to talk with our students, talk to their children about these challenges that are out there and how they are not safe, that they are not healthy," said Superintendent Kevin Gilbert.

School leaders are planning to have classes and assemblies addressing the latest concern over the TikTok challenge.

"This incident has raised the alarm bells, we're going to look into the things we need to do to be more proactive but it's definitely something that is not going to be pushed to the side," Gilbert said.

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