Seattle Public Schools issued an update to families in the district on Friday morning about a so-called “TikTok challenge” involving threats of school violence on the video-sharing platform.
The anonymous shooting and bomb threat, tied to today, Dec. 17, has gained national attention and put school districts and police departments on alert across the country.
But TikTok, in working with local authorities, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, said it can find no evidence that the threat is credible. The social media app’s communications channel tweeted a thread about the challenge, saying it’s mostly finding “videos discussing this rumor and warning others to stay safe.”
SPS said in its email that it “takes all threats seriously” and is working with the Seattle Police Department to evaluate the situation, adding that there is no evidence of a specific threat to any SPS schools.
KING 5 reported on steps other schools and districts were taking in Western Washington.
Calling it a challenging time in the city and the nation, SPS also offered some advice to families on appropriate social media behavior:
“We encourage families to have conversations about the seriousness and impact of these types of posts, and to help students make good choices when it comes to social media. Importantly, please do not share posts online that refer to school safety threats.”
Here is the full email from SPS:
We are aware of a national social media TikTok challenge threatening school violence today, Dec. 17. SPS takes all threats seriously and our security team worked in partnership with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to evaluate the situation. We want to assure families, students, and staff there is no evidence of a specific threat towards SPS schools.
While there isn’t a SPS specific threat, the Seattle Police Department is ready to respond should any problems arise.
We know this — and other recent threats at our schools — adds to the stress and anxiety that our students, families and staff are already experiencing and want to confirm that we take these matters seriously. Our central security team and SPD are closely monitoring the situation.
We encourage families to have conversations about the seriousness and impact of these types of posts, and to help students make good choices when it comes to social media. Importantly, please do not share posts online that refer to school safety threats.
We’re working hard to keep our students safe during this challenging time in our city and nation. If you or your child become aware of any potential threat posted to social media or anywhere else, please notify a school staff member or trusted adult right away. You may also call our security hotline at 206-252-0510.
Thank you for your partnership as we work to ensure a safe, secure, and positive learning environment for our students.
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