TikTok is working with authorities after a shocking new TikTok Challenge went viral.
This “challenge” calls for students to commit acts of violence against school districts on Friday, December 17. It should be noted that this is less of an Internet challenge and more of a crime. Even just threatening violence against a school district may end in prison time and hefty fines. TikTok isn’t sure where the threat first originated from, but Syracuse.com reported that the threat was labeled “December 17, National Shoot Up Your School Day.”
Schools around the country are stepping up police presence in schools in states such as Connecticut, New York, and Illinois, while some school districts in California, Texas, and Minnesota have decided to shut their doors for the day.
This is only one of the increasing concerning trends of violent TikTok challenges. In the fall, the “devious licks” trend asked students to steal or vandalize school property and post it online. Other trends have included “smack a staff member,” “flip off the front office,” “kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school,” and “jab a breast,” creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear as students return to the classroom.
TikTok Is Investigating The Threat, Cooperating With Authorities
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
Although the origin of the challenge cannot be found, there are plenty of other posts responding to it as students and parents express concern to head back to school today.
One TikTok user wrote, “Idk if this is true or not but apparently there is a threat on December 17 2021, schools in America are going to have a school shooting or bombing… again idk if this is true but if it is, stay safe. My mom called and told me so I looked it up. … stay safe America.”
TikTok took to Twitter to respond to the concerns, tweeting, “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.”
Schools Around The Country Respond To Potential Threats
— North Port Police (@NorthPortPolice) December 16, 2021
Earlier this week marked the 9-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which resulted in 28 fatalities, most of which were 6 and 7-year-old first-graders. The threat of violence has put schools around the country on alert, especially after alleged 15-year-old sophomore Ethan Crumbley was arrested for killing four of his classmates in a premeditated shooting on November 30.
The Police Department in Naugatuck, Connecticut said that they would step up police presence in schools not just on Friday, but during the “coming days.”
“Due to an uptick in unrelated threats at schools in the region, the Naugatuck Police will be increasing our presence and patrols at Borough Schools in the coming days,” they wrote. “While there has been NO threat against Naugatuck Schools, students, or staff, the public can anticipate our presence to increase the community’s sense of safety during the coming school days.”
In Florida, the North Port Police department issued a lengthy statement on Twitter, stating, “Law-enforcement agencies around the country are keeping a close eye on schools in the wake of nationwide generic school threat conversations.”
“The threats circulating on social media claiming that December 17 is a day to do harm at schools,” they continued. “The Northport Police Department is aware of the information. We take all threats, joking or not, seriously.”