A number of school districts in the US has canceled classes for today, December 17th, due to shooting and bomb threats supposedly circulating on TikTok and other social media channels. According to Bloomberg and The Verge, they include districts in Michigan, Washington, California, Texas, Minnesota and Missouri. The threats reportedly don't mention specific schools, but school authorities across the country are on alert and have opted to work with law enforcement and ensure students' safety.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted that while "there are no known specific threats against New Jersey schools," authorities "will work closely with law enforcement to monitor the situation and remain prepared." In most cases, law enforcement agencies announced that they haven't found evidence that the threats are real and credible. A county sheriff in Missouri said that they don't think their schools are going to be attacked, but they want to be prepared just in case.
While the source of the threats remain unclear, California's Gilroy Police Department determined that the post thought to involve Gilroy High School actually originated from outside of LA. Similarly, the Baltimore County Public Schools Twitter account posted that law enforcement agencies had discovered that the threats originated from Arizona and aren't credible.
(2/3) Law enforcement agencies have investigated this threat and determined that it originated in Arizona and is not credible. We want to continue to encourage members of Team BCPS to report suspicious or threatening activities or postings.
— Baltimore County Public Schools (@BaltCoPS) December 16, 2021
In response to the situation, TikTok issued a statement stating that it's "working with law enforcement" to investigate the rumored threats. However, it denied any knowledge of the threats and said that it found no evidence that they originated or are spreading on the platform.
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