Frederick Co. boy created fake social media threats as ‘joke’

A middle school student in Frederick County, Maryland, allegedly confessed to creating a fake identity on Instagram and making false threats against Ballenger Creek Middle School earlier this week, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to a statement from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office released Friday morning, the 13-year-old boy admitted that he did not have any plans to shoot anyone, and said so as a “joke” after seeing a TikTok challenge.

Law enforcement searched the student’s room and did not find any weapons.

“Our FCSO School Resource Officers (SRO), detectives, and patrol teams worked relentlessly to track down this threat,” said Lt. Jason Deater, FCSO SRO commander. “Through the use of technology and working with social media providers, we quickly identified the user and immediately made contact, which led to the confession.”

The investigation is still ongoing. There will be in an increased number of law enforcement patrol checks at schools in the county, deputies said. Anyone with information is asked to call deputies at 301-600-1046 or, if they wish to remain anonymous, email

Across the region, police have said threats coming from TikToc have been deemed not to be credible, but police have been making additional checks around schools.

Nationwide, the social media threats have made educators edgy, and security increased.

Julie Gallagher

Julie Gallagher is a freelance digital writer and editor for She previously covered the 2020 election with CNN and has bylines in The Lily, WIRED, NBC Washington, The Baltimore Sun, Washington City Paper and more.

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