You may see more police cars in front of your child’s school. It is because of an alleged national trend on the video social media platform TikTok. Posts warn of shooting and bomb threats at schools across the country Friday.
Most parents in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area have received a letter from their child’s school system saying the school system is aware of the possible threat. No law enforcement agency in the area has deemed any of the threats credible. But that is not keeping police cars from being parked out in front of local schools.
Maryland’s Frederick County Sheriff’s Office in a Facebook post said it was aware of a threat at Ballenger Creek Middle School, but the department “cannot state if this threat is confirmed or unconfirmed at this time.” The sheriff’s office said a heavy police presence can be expected.
The sheriff’s office said Friday that a Ballenger Creek Middle School student admitted he created a fake Instagram account and made threats against the school as a “joke.”
In a letter to parents Anne Arundel County Public Schools said, “Out of abundance of caution and to help alleviate anxiety on Friday, December 17, county police will be making additional checks at schools throughout the county.”
In Virginia, Loudoun County Public Schools told parents it will have similar measures in place at schools.
Loudoun County School Superintendent Scott Ziegler also recommended in a letter that “families monitor their children’s social media activity and speak with them about proper online behavior and social media use.”
He said that if any parent or student becomes aware of any potential threat posted to social media or anywhere else, they should notify a school staff member or law enforcement.
Many school systems, like Charles County Pubic Schools, also offered mental health support for students that are upset by the rumors of violence.
The following is a letter shared earlier today with CCPS parents and staff.
Students, parents, staff and community members can report any threat to school safety using our online anonymous reporting tool at https://t.co/ypFIIDKvre. pic.twitter.com/ut8IeypSj1
— CCPS (@CCPS) December 16, 2021
In a statement on Twitter, TikTok said it was working with law enforcement to investigate.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness,” the statement said, “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.”
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.
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) December 16, 2021
This comes a week after a school shooting threat was made on social media against Manassas Park High School. A 15-year-old sophomore from the school has been charged with making “Threats to Kill.”