School districts warn of viral TikTok shooting threat trend

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 2:47 PM EST

CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – School districts in our region and across the country are on alert as a threat goes viral on TikTok among school aged students.

Cabell County Schools said Thursday the district was made aware of a TikTok trend pertaining to nationwide school shootings and bomb threats supposedly being planned to take place on 17 December 2021.

The following message from Cabell County Schools was sent to families Thursday:

“Cabell families,

The West Virginia Fusion Center has made us aware of a TikTok trend pertaining to nationwide school shootings and bomb threats supposedly being planned to take place on 17 December 2021. The center reports numerous schools in the United States have been receiving threats throughout the week.

According to the West Virginia Fusion Center, at this time, there are no known threats or derogatory findings regarding this event in the state of West Virginia.

Our school district is fortunate to have a successful working relationship with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners. We are all carefully monitoring the situation together. Threats to our school community or individuals will not tolerated and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Thank you for your assistance in ensuring our schools remain safe places for our students, staff and families.”

Several other counties across the region including Kanawha, Putnam, Lincoln, Mason and Jackson, also sent messages out to ease parents’ minds:

“This is a message from Kanawha County Schools. School officials, local & state law enforcement and national law enforcement agencies are aware of rumors being spread about a general threat to school systems across the United States for Friday, December 17, 2021. At this time, there are no known threats regarding this event in the state of West Virginia or Kanawha County Schools. If you encounter specific information regarding any threat please send it to our KCS Tipline through Schoology or the KCS website.

We take every threat seriously and will investigate and take proper precautions to keep our schools safe. We ask for your cooperation in not spreading unverified rumors on social media. Thank you.”

The nationwide threat follows a school threat made towards Van Junior-Senior High School in Boone County on Wednesday. Sheriff Chad Barker told WSAZ one juvenile is facing criminal charges but could not release further information since it involves a juvenile.

“We can’t take a threat lightly so, we really need to teach our kids aggressively the power of their words and how they need to communicate with each other in a healthy way and use social media the proper way,” Joe Stewart, who is a teacher at Van Elementary and parent at the junior-senior high school, said. “As teachers and administrators I just think we need to be more attuned to helping with mental health issues and identifying students that are showing signs of sadness.”

Threat made toward middle school; juvenile identify

West Virginia State Police said Thursday it is aware of and is continuing to monitor for threatening messages trending nationwide on social media.

No verified or credible threats specific to West Virginia have been identified at this time, WVSP says.

The West Virginia State Police says it is coordinating with Emergency Management, the West Virginia Fusion Center, and the state Department of Education, as well as other partners to address this situation.

Anyone with knowledge of specific threats or suspicious activity should contact the State Police, local authorities or 911.

West Virginia officials are taking this potential threat seriously, with anyone making such threats or seeking to disrupt school operations are subject to criminal prosecution.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

(Gray News) - School districts across the country are advising parents about a potential TikTok challenge designed to encourage students to make violent threats against schools on Friday.

“While we understand that this event is only a rumor, we also know that social media is a powerful tool often used to influence others,” Cincinnati Public Schools wrote.

Law enforcement agencies across the country agree that these threats are not likely credible, but many are working directly with schools to increase security patrols out of an abundance of caution.

WFSB reports a number of school districts in Connecticut are taking extra safety measures.

“We take all such matters seriously and are instituting the following precautions for our schools,” said superintendent Danielle Bellizzi of Wallingford Public Schools in Connecticut.

Some school districts in Wisconsin share the same sentiment and told parents there may be an increased officer presence at schools, according to WMTV.

“The sheriff’s office and other local law enforcement agencies are working closely with area school districts to address any concerns or potential threats,” the Dane County Sheriff’s Office said, indicating it has not heard of any direct threats within the county.

In a sentiment almost certainly shared by school administrators across the U.S., district administrators urge families to report any concerns they have about threats against schools.

“It is always important to remain vigilant when it involves these types of threats and challenges,” Cincinnati Public Schools added, encouraging parents to discuss the potential consequences of engaging in this type of behavior.

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