Several schools in the US have closed as a precaution after rumors of threats of violence for December 17 went viral on TikTok.
While TikTok is a hub for some of the internet’s most viral content, it has also been subject to controversy in the past thanks to dangerous trends or challenges that originate from the app, several of them involving schools or young people.
Back in September, TikTok banned the Devious Lick trend that saw teens steal increasingly bizarre objects from their schools, after a full list of challenges including ‘slap the teacher’ started doing the rounds.
Now, some schools have closed as a precaution as a result of rumors about violent threats for December 17 that reportedly originated from TikTok.
Districts in Minnesota, California, Missouri, and Texas have said they intend to close schools as a result of threats, whereas others have revealed that there will be a heightened police presence in some areas.
Although many schools are taking precautions against these potential threats, they are also casting doubt over their validity.
Baltimore County Public Schools explained via Twitter that: “Law enforcement agencies have investigated this threat and determined that it originated in Arizona and is not 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
TikTok responds to school threats
TikTok responded to the increased concern about December 17 by writing: “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
Many of the videos and attached comment sections about December 17 on TikTok are from students expressing their concern about going into school, as well as parents urging others to keep their kids at home on the day.
As the rumors continue to circulate, more schools are contacting students and parents to address the supposed threats.