School Districts Cancel Classes, Increase Security After ‘School Shooting TikTok Challenge’

School districts across the country issued warnings, increased security and canceled classes Friday in response to vague, anonymous shooting and bomb threats that officials say were made on TikTok but are not considered credible.

However, TikTok said it has found no evidence of threats originating on its platform and is working to remove videos discussing the rumor.

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Schools in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York and Pennsylvania increased their police presence Friday due to the alleged threats while schools in California, MinnesotaMissouri and Texas closed for the day.

“It’s just scary to feel like there’s nowhere where you can leave your kids,” said Trisha Masterson, a mother of five from Wauconda, Illinois. “I’d always rather be safe and regret being too safe than not. What happens if I send them and something happens?”

On Thursday, Masterson started getting emails from her children’s schools. The first one came from her eldest daughter’s high school, which sent two emails about the threats reported to have been made on TikTok. The second email said the notification wasn’t intended to alarm parents. None of the threats were specific to their school district.

Masterson said she discussed the alleged threats with her children, ages 10 to 14, and let them decide if they wanted to go to school Friday. All five decided to attend, which she said was difficult for her.

“They’re already more anxious because of how much their learning experience has changed during the pandemic,” she told USA TODAY. “And now we’re telling them also, you can’t even feel safe here anymore.”

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SOURCE: USA Today, N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Christine Fernando

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