US schools are on high alert over a ‘school shooting’ TikTok challenge scheduled for today

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Schools across the US will close on Friday in case a  school shooting TikTok challenge turns out to be real. 

Schools and entire districts in California, Missouri, Texas and Minnesota have cancelled classes for the day, while others who will remain open have announced that they will add extra police officers on campus and will remain on high alert. 

However, officials and police have assured parents and students that they have found scant evidence of any credible threats.

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The origin of the purported TikTok challenge is not clear, though multiple videos on the app reference ‘December 17’ and school shootings.

‘Prepared to hopefully not get shot tomorrow at school,’ one TikTok user wrote on their video. ‘Basically there was school threats tomorrow, Friday (December 17th) for most schools.’ 

In a statement Thursday afternoon, TikTok said it was working with law enforcement to look into ‘warnings about potential violence at schools,’ but that it didn’t determine the threats to originate or spread on TikTok.

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A TikTok trend reportedly urging students to call in shooting threats at their schools on Friday,  December 17 has sent some schools scrambling to cancel classes last minute

A TikTok trend reportedly urging students to call in shooting threats at their schools on Friday,  December 17 has sent some schools scrambling to cancel classes last minute

Gov. Phil Murphy said 'there are no known specific threats against New Jersey schools'

Gov. Phil Murphy said ‘there are no known specific threats against New Jersey schools’

A TikTok user by the handle @enigmasoul_ explained that the challenge started as a call for kids to skip school before it turned into something more sinister

A TikTok user by the handle @enigmasoul_ explained that the challenge started as a call for kids to skip school before it turned into something more sinister

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The news comes less than three weeks after 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley shot four people and injured seven others at Oxford High School in Michigan. 

The news comes less than three weeks after 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley shot four people and injured seven others at Oxford High School in Michigan

The news comes less than three weeks after 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley shot four people and injured seven others at Oxford High School in Michigan

Little Falls Community Schools in Minnesota; the Gasconade County in Missouri; Gilroy High School in Gilroy, California; and Kaufman High School in Kaufman, Texas all cited the TikTok ‘trend’ or ‘challenge’ when announcing that classes were canceled on Friday, The Verge reports.

At the same time, various school districts have sought to reassure parents that no credible threats exist. 

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‘Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,’ the district said. 

‘Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.’

In Missouri, the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Office cited ‘posts circulating on social media sites, such as Tik Tok’ before announcing it was closing its schools the next day.

Little Falls Community Schools in Minnesota said it was cancelling classes on Friday after the district was 'specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat'

Little Falls Community Schools in Minnesota said it was cancelling classes on Friday after the district was ‘specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat’

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Little Falls Community Schools in Minnesota will be closed due to the threat

Little Falls Community Schools in Minnesota will be closed due to the threat 

Gilroy High in Gilroy, California said it was closing down schools on Friday after it got a threat, which later turned out to be meant for a different school with the same initials

Kaufman High School in Kaufman, Texas said it was cancelling classes on Friday after it got a threat in line with the TikTok trend

Kaufman High School in Kaufman, Texas said it was cancelling classes on Friday after it got a threat in line with the TikTok trend

Owensville High School - Gasconade County is another school closing its doors Friday

Owensville High School – Gasconade County is another school closing its doors Friday 

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On Thursday, Gilroy High said it was closing down schools on Friday after ‘it was determined that a social media post thought to involve Gilroy High School had actually originated out of Los Angeles.’

The post turned out to refer to a school outside of Los Angeles, with the district adding that it was deemed to not be a credible threat,

Meanwhile, Kaufman High in Texas said it got a threat in line with the December 17 trend.

‘The threat did not include a specific time, but was specific to a date: December 17,’ the district said in a letter to parents, according to WFAA. 

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‘This falls in line with a national TikTok trend threatening to coordinate violence at schools on December 17, 2021.’

On Thursday, a woman on TikTok by the handle @enigmasoul_ updated her followers on the trend.

‘Apparently there’s a TikTok challenge going around. It was originally that kids were supposed to skip school tomorrow, December 17,’ she said. 

‘Apparently it turned into – instead of skipping school – you’re supposed to call a school to report a bomb threat or a shooting.’

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Some school districts investigated and found nothing to be worried about.

‘Many of our schools are being inundated with parent calls this morning asking about these latest threats and their validity,’ tweeted Florida’s Citrus County School District, according to the New York Post. ‘As of Thursday morning, we have not received any indication of a credible threat to any of our schools.’ 

Baltimore County Public Schools warned parents and students about the trend, but later said the TikTok threat 'originated in Arizona and is not credible'

Baltimore County Public Schools warned parents and students about the trend, but later said the TikTok threat ‘originated in Arizona and is not credible’

‘Law enforcement agencies have investigated this threat and determined that it originated in Arizona and is not credible,’ Baltimore County Public Schools tweeted.

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‘Currently, there have been no threats to any of the schools in Mexico, [Missouri],” the Mexico School District said, according to KMIZ.

‘There have been no local, credible threats,’ Ohio’s Milford Exempted Village School District told parents.

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said on Twitter that ‘there are no known specific threats against New Jersey schools.’

In Arizona, the Scottsdale Unified School District said the TikTok threats aren’t credible but that schools are taking extra precautionary measures anyway.

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‘You may notice an increased police presence on and around our campuses today and tomorrow,’ the district said, according to WNYW, adding that it ‘takes all threats seriously.’

In upstate New York, the superintendents of the Jamesville-DeWitt School District and the Baldwinsville Central School District said they adding extra security or police presence at their schools on Friday, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

The newspaper says that the TikTok challenge labels Friday as ‘National Shoot Up Your School Day’ and encourages students to make threats against their schools.


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