Schools are closing Friday in response to shooting threats broadcast across TikTok.
Schools throughout the United States are taking security measures following a TikTok trend in which users have alleged a shooting may occur on Friday. School districts are working with law enforcement to investigate threats, adding security to school buildings, and closing campuses for the day.
"While there are no known specific threats against New Jersey schools, the safety of our children is our highest priority, and we will work closely with law enforcement to monitor the situation and remain prepared," tweeted New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday.
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While there are no known specific threats against New Jersey schools, the safety of our children is our highest priority and we will work closely with law enforcement to monitor the situation and remain prepared.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 16, 2021
Law enforcement agencies have been unable to identify any "credible information" identifying a particular party or location that would be the target of a school shooting. That has not stopped schools from responding to counter the threat of a shooting.
TikTok says it has been working with law enforcement to look into the origin of this trend but that it hasn't found "evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok."
We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we're working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok.— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) December 16, 2021
A representative for the Federal Bureau of Investigation told MassLive, "The FBI takes all potential threats seriously, and we regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine the credibility of any threats. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately."
At least one person has been arrested in connection to these threats. Police in Corona, California, arrested a 14-year-old boy after a student reported him for suggesting on social media that an act of violence would occur "due to the police department being present at the school."
Others have identified messages that may point to threats aimed at particular schools. Michigan's Charlton Police Department issued a statement on Thursday saying it is "aware of a Snap Chat message about a threat to Charlton Middle School." The police are working with other agencies to investigate the threat but are convinced it's "not credible."
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School shootings have become a rising threat in the U.S. At least 70 people have been killed and 118 injured in school shootings since 2013, according to NBC's school shooting tracker.
The most recent shooting occurred on Nov. 30, when four students were killed and seven injured in Oxford, Michigan. Suspect Ethan Crumbley, 15, who is being tried as an adult, has pleaded not guilty through his attorney.