Schools Across US Cancel Classes Over Unconfirmed TikTok Threats

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: School districts across the United States are cancelling classes on Friday, December 17th due to reports of threats that are supposedly being made on TikTok. Districts in California, Texas, Minnesota, and Missouri have said they plan to close down Friday in response, according to the districts and local media reports. Elsewhere, districts have said they plan to have heightened police presence or have emailed parents to say they've been investigating the allegations. But so far, there's little evidence that the threats are credible -- or even exist. The districts and local police departments largely say they've heard about a trend referencing the possibility of shootings or bombings on December 17th, but it's not clear how many have seen a specific threat or a threat against their schools in particular. A number of districts and law enforcement divisions say they've looked into it and don't view the threats as credible or even real. "Law enforcement agencies have investigated this threat and determined that it originated in Arizona and is not credible," Baltimore County Public Schools wrote on Twitter. "Currently, there have been no threats to any of the schools in Mexico, [Missouri]," wrote a Missouri school district. "There have been no local, credible threats," Ohio's Milford Exempted Village School District wrote to parents. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy tweeted, "there are no known specific threats against New Jersey schools." The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating. Videos being posted to TikTok warn others that they should skip school on December 17th due to supposed threats of shootings or bombings, which seem to have prompted others to create similar videos. And now that schools are canceling classes in response to those supposed threats, a new wave of videos have popped up with additional warnings based on both the supposed claims and the actual, factual cancellations of some school classes. TikTok says it has not identified any videos making specific threats. "We have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok," the company wrote in a tweet Thursday afternoon. TikTok said it is working with law enforcement to look into the warnings with "utmost seriousness," nonetheless.

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