State schools

Tri-state schools on alert for TikTok challenge targeting schools at risk – NBC New York

A number of local school districts will step up security as officials say there is a new challenge on social media encouraging children to make threats against their own schools.

The dark side of social media is wreaking havoc on schools as the latest trending threat is supposed to target schools across the country on Friday.

“It’s a bit of a TikTok challenge, to say that every school in the United States will be targeted on December 17 and there are children dancing in front of a video,” said the Nassau County Police Commissioner, Patrick Ryder.

Schools and police from New York to Connecticut to New Jersey recently sent out notices to parents. Law enforcement across the country, including the FBI, stresses that the threat is not credible. But that didn’t stop parents from worrying.

“I think parents are very concerned. I’ve had a number of people contact me and ask if I plan to send my kids to school tomorrow,” said Hoboken City Councilor Emily Jabbour.

In Hoboken, like all other school districts on high alert, more police can be expected in schools on Friday.

“Knowing that there are no credible threats right now is very factual information and will hopefully help parents make decisions about how their families will function tomorrow,” Jabbour said.

TikTok has tweeted that it takes all threats seriously, but says it has found no threats on its platforms.

The Connecticut Education Association did not buy what the social media company said, saying in a statement: “This week alone, Connecticut and the nation celebrated the grim 9th anniversary of the Newtown Massacre, and social media companies have the ability to monitor, track, and remove messages that threaten public safety, and that they should be held accountable if they do not.”

In the past week alone, four schools in New Jersey and Connecticut have been plagued by threats made on social media. At least one minor was arrested.

Police and educators have urged parents to tell their children about opting out of the trend, and officials have asked the public to stop reposting the threats, making the search for the perpetrator all the more more difficult.

“I’m talking to all the parents now, all the citizen groups out there…please stop reposting, call 911,” Ryder said. “Now we’re dealing with – chasing our tail here basically – constantly after threat after threat and repost after repost.”