Latest TikTok challenge encourages kids to bring weapons to school
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Police across the country are dealing with yet another potential threat on the social media platform TikTok. This one is encouraging students to bring weapons to school on Friday.
Many school districts have already alerted parents through emails about this latest TikTok rumor.
Although the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office told News10NBC there is no general threat to students’ safety, it is still treating this as a matter of utmost importance.
The Dec. 17 gun violence rumor at schools is one more TikTok challenge police can do without.
Monroe County Deputy Brenden Hurley said the office was first made aware of the rumor this morning from a local school resource officer.
Right now most agencies are treating this as an "unconfirmed threat" that’s only going viral on some social media websites. Hurley said he’s spoken to schools all across the county… and so far not one of them has shared any threats happening at their school.
"Just because there is no direct threat doesn’t mean that we’re not going to take this seriously, and we aren’t going to be prepared," Hurley said. "We want to be prepared in case god forbid something does happen. We always encourage people if you see something, say something. That’s why we’re happy to be told about the threats."
The sheriff’s office will have increased presence at the start of school and at dismissal. Anyone who hears about a threat at their child’s school is urged to contact the police immediately.
TikTok tweeted a message in response to the challenge Thursday, saying "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."
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
Rep. Joe Morelle (D, 25) sent a letter to TikTok Friday calling on the company to remove dangerous content from its platform.
Locally, the Rochester City School District tweeted out a message to parents.
We have been made aware of a message circulating from TikTok warning of acts of violence tomorrow, 12/17. RCSD Safety and Security have already reached out to the RPD. If you see or hear anything that threatens school safety, please report it to your administrator immediately. pic.twitter.com/F9b2XPMsuC— Rochester City School District (@RCSDNYS) December 16, 2021
The Webster Central School District has sent out a message to parents, saying no threats have been made to its schools, but that it is aware of the challenge.
The Le Roy Central School District sent the following statement to parents:
"School districts have become aware of a troubling post that has been shared widely this week on the social media platform TikTok. The post refers to a threat to school safety "for every school in the USA, even elementary," on Friday, December 17th.
"The post appears to be a part of national TikTok trend and DID NOT originate in our school district. We have also NOT received any threats directed at Le Roy CSD. Though the report has not been deemed to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation here if anything changes. We continue to share a very strong working and collaborative relationship with the Le Roy Village Police Department and our School Resource Officers. The District also places a strong emphasis on practicing our emergency protocols.
"This type of situation serves as a good example of why it is important to avoid sharing posts online regarding schools. Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of undue stress and anxiety for our students, families and staff. We ask our families to monitor their children’s social media activity and speak with them about proper behavior online. If you or your child become aware of any potential threat posted to social media or anymore else, please notify a school staff member or trusted adult right away."
Victor Superintendent Timothy Terranova sent the following statement to parents:
"As many of you have heard, school districts across the country have been made aware of a national TikTok “challenge” encouraging school violence tomorrow, Friday, December 17, 2021.
"We understand that these posts can be alarming and upsetting and most definitely disappointing. I have been in touch with our School Resource Officer, who is a member of the Ontario County Sheriff’s office and there is no credible threat from this national posting. The Ontario County Sheriff’s office is closely monitoring this situation and our campus tomorrow.
"While there is no credible evidence that these threats are real nor are any of them directed at our schools, we take such events seriously. Please use this opportunity to speak with your children about safety and check in on their social media activity. Additionally, this is a good reminder that if you see something, you should say something. Finally, we have an anonymous tip line on our website at https://www.safeschoolhelpline.com/ if you see or hear something that may impact the safety of our students or staff.
"Please let me know if you have any questions.