Local school districts react to TikTok threat that suggests violence at schools

Local school districts are reacting to a viral TikTok threat that suggests that numerous school shootings will take place on Friday

It’s unclear where the TikTok school threat emerged, but authorities in Pennsylvania and beyond said they've received no credible threats. Still, school officials are taking heightened safety measures as a precaution.

Haverford School District released a letter to parents after discovering writing on a bathroom wall in Haverford Middle School indicating "there may be a shooting in the school" on Dec. 17.

"We immediately contacted the police and they are investigating. They do not believe students are in any immediate danger. We will have extra security present as our students dismiss today," the district wrote Thursday. 

The district said the threat at their school appeared to be a "copycat message" and noted that the trend did not originate in their school district.

The district maintained that the threat is not credible to their belief, but will have increased police presence in their buildings on Friday as an added precaution. 

Thursday, the Garnet Valley School District superintendent sent out an email stating "no evidence has been found connecting them [the posts] to any local school districts" but understood "the anxiety and unease these situations cause with students and parents." 

"We, therefore, will allow students an excused absence tomorrow if their parents want to keep them home from school," the district said but added it feels its schools "can operate on Friday both safely and securely" in light of the fact that there was no connection between the threat and the Garnet Valley district.

The Upper Darby School District also released an email stating there have not been any direct threats against the school or district, but that the behaviors would "not be tolerated." 

"Any student found to have engaged in or to be involved in executing these challenges will be disciplined to the fullest extent allowable as per the Student Code of Character. We will not tolerate acts of violence in our schools," the district’s superintendent wrote. "The behaviors associated with these challenges are highly concerning and deeply troubling. Parents, we are asking for your help. We are asking that you talk with your children about social media and urge them not to take part in these unsafe behaviors." 

Officials in New Jersey have also not heard of any credible threats from the TikTok challenge, but Burlington Police Chief John Fine advised parents to talk to their children. 

"Children are going to educate you, but also be aware of threats in the event that you know of a threat or if your child knows of something going on in the school make sure you report it immediately," Chief Fine said.

TikTok said in a tweet on Friday that it "exhaustively searched for content that promotes violence at schools today, but have still found nothing." They explained that many of the videos circulating around the platform only discuss the rumored threat and warn others to stay safe.

"Local authorities, the FBI, and DHS have confirmed there's no credible threat, so we're working to remove alarmist warnings that violate our misinformation policy," TikTok wrote in a follow-up tweet. 




SUBSCRIBE: Good Day Digest Newsletter | FOX 29 Philly on YouTube

FOLLOW: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter