The Juneau School District headquarters on March 17, 2021. On Thursday, school officials sent an email to parents warning of a TikTok-based nationwide threat against schools for Dec. 17. Local officials said parents may notice an increased police presence but said they did not believe the threat was credible. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)

Local school officials respond to TikTok threat

Schools across country cite same post

Citing a nationwide social media post predicting school violence across the country on Friday, local school officials told parents that increased police presence may be visible at local schools on Dec. 17.

School officials sent a late-afternoon email to parents Thursday advising that the increased police presence stems from a “troubling post that has been shared widely this week on the social media platform TikTok.”

According to school officials, “the post refers to a threat to school safety ‘for every school in the USA, even elementary,’ on Friday, Dec. 17.”

Officials believe the TikTok trend originated outside of Alaska, and they do not believe the local threat to be credible, according to the email.

[Police called after student made shooting comment]

“We have heard reports from other districts that the same post is circulating in their schools,” the post reads. “We are closely monitoring the situation, working closely with the Juneau Police Department and taking it seriously.”

Several media outlets are reporting similar threats across the country.

According to U.S. News and World Report, “schools in states including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois and Montana said Thursday there would be an increased police presence because of the threats. In response, at least one school district in Kaufman, Texas, announced plans to close the high school for the day.

In the email, Superintendent Bridget Weiss asked parents to monitor their children’s social media activities and remind them about online proper and safe behavior.

“This situation serves as a good example of why it is important to avoid sharing posts online that refer to school safety threats. Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for our students, families, and staff,” Weiss said in the email.

Earlier this week, school officials called the Juneau Police Department after a student made a comment about shooting a local school. According to JPD Lt. Krag Campbell, the incident was resolved in-house without charges.

In her email, Weiss encouraged everyone to report all threats related to school safety.

[Local officials react to governor’s budget proposal]

“Students, parents, staff and community members should report all threats toward schools or students to their teacher, principal or JPD. Everyone should speak up when they hear or see something suspicious or read something online. If you see something, say something,” Weiss wrote to parents.

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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