Education

School Districts Across Country Warned Of Potential Shootings, But Law Enforcement Pushes Back

Photo by Emily Elconin/Getty Images

Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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School districts across the country opted to increase security, issue letters to parents or shut down buildings after an anonymous TikTok post promised that U.S. schools would see “multiple school shootings” on Dec. 17. Police deemed the threat “not credible,” according to several local school districts.

A TikTok “challenge” called on students nationwide to issue shooting and bomb threats to their local schools on Dec. 17. Baltimore County Public Schools’ (BCPS) official Twitter page alerted students and parents that the district was “aware of an anonymous threat posted on TikTok targeting all schools in the United States.”

Baltimore County law enforcement agencies “have investigated this threat and determined that it originated in Arizona and is not credible,” BCPS tweeted.

School officials in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York and Pennsylvania vowed to increase police presence in schools following the threats, according to The Associated Press.

The TikTok “challenge” was posted after a deadly school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Nov. 30 that rocked the suburban town. The shooter took four lives and injured bystanders. (RELATED: Oxford Public Schools, Leaders Hit With $200 Million Worth Of Lawsuits Following Fatal Shooting)

Waukesha School District — located the same town that lost residents to a driver who drove his van through a Christmas parade — sent a letter to parents encouraging them to discuss school shootings with their children, according to Fox 6 Milwaukee.

“We take all threats seriously and any threats against the school or district will be disciplined to the greatest extent possible, up to and including expulsion from school,” the letter read.

Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois, school administrators sent a letter informing parents and children about the threat and promised to increase police presence, according to the AP.

“We are writing to inform you and not alarm you,” the administrator wrote. “We have been made aware of a nationwide viral TikTok trend about ‘school shooting and bomb threats for every school in the USA even elementary,’ on Friday, December 17.”

One school district in northern California opted to close a high school building, despite police reports that the threat was not credible. Principal Greg Kapaku announced that Gilroy High School would shut down and cancel classes on Dec. 17.

Broward and Miami-Dade County Public Schools announced they would increase law enforcement presence as a precautionary measure, even though the “threat did not originate locally and is not believed to be credible,” according to CBS Miami. A Broward County high school was devastated in 2018 by a school shooting that took the life of 17 people.

Fort Bend Independent School District near Houston called on middle and high school students to leave their backpacks at home on Friday, according to the district’s Twitter account.

TikTok said that it is working with law enforcement to handle the rumored threats that originated on its platform.

“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” the company tweeted.