A viral TikTok shows a teacher constantly kissing and holding and hugging an adult student who is allegedly non-verbal and autistic on the cheek. The video caused controversy among commentators, many of whom claimed that the man could not consent to the teacher’s actions.
In a TikTok posted by Christina (@christinas_customs) on August 22, a woman kisses a man on the cheek and hugs him many times. At some point, the man’s pants are unbuttoned. Christina identified the pair as a teacher and her non-verbal and autistic adult student.
It is not clear in the video whether the man speaks non-verbally, that is, does not communicate at all, or does not speak, that is, he can communicate using a letter or a communication device.
TikToker calls the teacher’s behavior self-grooming and sexual abuse.
In the caption to the video, Christina wrote that her niece goes to the same special needs adult school as the man in the video and that the video was posted by a teacher on TikTok.
“My niece went herself and reported it to the principal and now the teacher in the video is giving her dirty looks,” Christina wrote in the caption to the video. “It was very unpleasant for me to watch this video.”
On Wednesday, Christina’s video gained more than 5 million views.
@christinas_customs What do you think of this video? According to my niece, this is a non-verbal autistic student from her school. This is his teacher. This is a special needs adult school for adults with special needs and my niece goes there. My niece really had a problem with this video she found on the TikTok of a teacher from her school. How would you feel if a male teacher lay down with a female student and treated her the same way? My niece went herself and reported it to the principal and now the teacher in the video is giving her dirty looks. It was very unpleasant for me to watch this video! #fyp #fypシ #sa #saawareness #specialneeds #autism #autismawareness #assultawareness #planoisd #unsettling #nonverbal ♬ original sound – Christina
Many commentators of Christina’s video agreed with her reaction to the way the teacher touches the student.
“100% thought they were just a couple until I read the captions,” commented @jamiem4l. I hope his parents were informed.
“I hate to judge strictly by TikTok, but I can’t help my intuition,” wrote @vettylou. “Definitely doesn’t feel safe.”
Others were not so sure that the teacher was completely ignoring the man’s inability to consent, but agreed that she should not touch him in the way shown in the video.
“This is unacceptable as his teacher but he LOVES her and HER affection,” wrote @jassmineeeebaybeee. “You can see it CLEARLY!”
“He deserves love and connection and it looks like he agrees,” commented @aydebake. “BUT, she’s his teacher and she shouldn’t be doing this.”
Some commentators stated that they have non-verbal and autistic people in their lives and offered their own versions of the video.
“As a mother of a non-verbal son, I have to say this is inappropriate,” commented @the..original..bae. “You can show him that “he is loved” in other ways. Kissing him over and over is not okay.”
“It worries me in many ways,” wrote @lovely_arlene. “As a parent of a non-verbal child who is 18 years old. Now I’m scared.”
“As a mom with a mentally handicapped daughter who also doesn’t speak, this just confirms my concerns,” commented @erikaparedes3.
Commentators urged Kristina to at least report the video to the school. If the school is a public school, its teachers are subject to laws that private school teachers cannot be—which do not include specific state laws that apply to public and/or private schools.
The Daily Dot reached out to Christina via an Instagram direct message.
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*First published: August 31, 2022 4:40 pm CDT
Trisha Crimmins is an IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot. She is also a comedian from New York and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously wrote for Mashable, Complex Networks and Moment magazine. She can be found on Twitter at @TriciaCrimmins.