A viral TikTok trend is sounding off alarms among school districts across the nation as videos on the social media platform warned of potential school violence on Friday, Dec. 17.
The vague threats have caused widespread closures and panic even prompting parents to let their children stay home from school.
The State Fusion Center at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the School Safety Center in the DPS Homeland Security and Emergency Management division shared a message with schools, law enforcement and other partners alerting them of the threats.
According to a press release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, (DPS), and the Department of Education, (MDE), DPS has made local law enforcement agencies and school administrators around the state aware of this national threat circulating on social media.
As of Friday morning, at least three schools in Minnesota have located similar threat reporting. However, local and state law enforcement have not identified the threat as credible at this time, according to the press release.
Several schools in the southern metro have sent out letters to families and staff letting them know about the situation.
Eastern Carver County Public School
Chaska High School, part of the Eastern Carver County Public School District, released a letter to families on Thursday.
Principal Jim Bach stated that a threat was possibly targeting Chaska High School but was actually intended for a school in Utah and assured parents that the school is closely working with law enforcement.
"As many of you are aware, earlier today a social media post was circulating about a possible school shooting on Friday, Dec. 17. The photo was blurry but could have been read as directed at CHS. I want to assure you that in working with law enforcement we determined that post was not in reference to our high school, but a high school in Utah," stated Bach. "Another image circulated later this afternoon, using the same text superimposed over an image of the CHS cafeteria. We identified the individual responsible for posting and there is no threat to the school. The image has been taken down."
Bach also stated that the safety of students and staff is the school's top priority and has increased law enforcement presence at the high school as a safety precaution.
"The safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and when we learned of the photo we immediately contacted the Chaska Police Department," stated Bach. "Their investigation confirms that there is no credible threat against Chaska High School. I want to repeat that we do NOT have credible evidence there is a threat against our school. To make our community feel safer, and purely out of an abundance of caution, we will have extra law enforcement on hand tomorrow."
Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools
According to a letter sent out by Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools on Thursday, the district stated that it has immediately launched an investigation but wants to make things clear that schools in the PLSAS district have not been threatened or targeted.
"The purpose of this email is to make you aware of a TikTok message (social media app) that references schools and threats of violence for today, Dec. 17. While this post was not specific to any school in our district, it was brought to our attention and, as with all reports made to us, we immediately launched an investigation and notified Prior Lake Police. To be clear, we have not received any threats to our school," the letter stated. "The message found on TikTok is yet another example of a national trend where concerning posts are made on social media threatening schools and/or students are spreading false information. These types of messages not only disrupt our learning environment, they also create fear and uncertainty in our community."
The letter also reminds the community that such threats can be considered a crime are taken very seriously.
"We want to point out that threats are not a joke and could result in serious consequences, including an arrest by law enforcement and/or suspension or expulsion by the school district," the letter stated. "Threats can have long-standing impacts for members of our community and for those who post them."
To report non-emergency situations, report online through the PLSAS Confidential Reporting form located on all school home pages or call the anonymous Tip Line at 952-226-0005.
Shakopee Public Schools
Shakopee Public Schools also released a statement on Friday.
"We are aware of the item in social media. It’s been investigated by administration, our school resource officers (SROs) and the Shakopee Police Department," stated SPS. "There is no evidence of any sort of credible threat to our district. We are continuing to be vigilant in regards to school safety."
According to a press release from DPS, people can make an anonymous report using the free BCA See It, Say It, Send It app available on Android and Apple devices.