Some US schools closed as viral TikTok challenge warns of shooting, bomb threats

Published on Dec 17, 2021 11:31 AM IST
Though the authorities have said the threat on TikTok is not credible, schools have beefed up security and deployed additional policemen on the compound. Some of them have announced closure and postponement of exams.
TikTok said it is cooperating with law enforcement agencies.(Representative Photo/Reuters)
TikTok said it is cooperating with law enforcement agencies.(Representative Photo/Reuters)
By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Schools across the United States are on alert due to a viral post on popular video sharing app TikTok. The post warns of “shooting and bomb threats” at schools around the country on Friday (December 17).

The threat is also being reported as challenge. Authorities, however, have deemed the threat to be fake.

But parents are concerned, and so are students. So, school officials in states like Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York and Pennsylvania have increased police presence on campus. Some of them have even announced plans to close school buildings on Friday.

The threatening post has been made on TikTok anonymously. Authorities believe it originated in Arizona; they are trying to assure the parents saying that viral posts are not considered credible.

“Law enforcement agencies have investigated this threat and determined that it originated in Arizona and is not credible,” the Baltimore County Public Schools said on its Twitter account.

TikTok, meanwhile, said it is cooperating with law enforcement agencies in the investigation.

“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,” the social media company said in a statement.

The threat comes just two weeks after the United States witnessed one of the worst school shooting incidents since 2018, in Michigan.

On November 30, a 15-year-old boy opened fire inside Oxford High School in Michigan, killing four students and injuring seven others. He was later identified as Ethan Crumbley and is facing murder charges in the wake of the shooting.

What’s worrying the parents and school authorities most is the disturbing trend that has gripped the children hooked to social media. In September, a “devious licks” challenge saw students across the schools in the US vandalising school bathrooms and stealing soap dispensers.

Then in October, students were challenged to slap a teacher. This led to National Education Association call representatives of Facebook, Twitter and TikTok to intervene.

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