TACOMA, Wash. — All Tacoma Public Schools will be operating in a state of lockdown Friday following a post threatening violence on the social media platform TikTok that alarmed school districts, students and parents across the nation Thursday.
Parents and guardians were notified of the Tacoma lockdown in an email from superintendent Carla Santorno late Thursday afternoon. Santorno called the TikTok post “troubling”.
“The post refers to a threat to school safety ‘for every school in the USA, even elementary,’ on Friday, December 17,” Santorno wrote. “We have heard reports from other districts that the same post is circulating in their schools.”
The threat, which is also being called a “challenge” by others, claims that shootings would occur Friday at schools across the nation.
“While we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously,” Santorno said. She added an “increased police awareness” would be seen in the community but did not elaborate on what that meant.
Tacoma schools will be operating in a modified lockdown on Friday.
“That simply means all exterior doors will be locked while classes operate as normal inside each school,” she said.
Santorno urged anyone with knowledge of threat to call 911.
“Any threat against our schools is a crime,” she wrote. “Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for our students, families, and staff. We ask our families to monitor their children’s social media activity and speak with them about proper behavior online.”
Threats or so-called challenges on social media have become a problem for schools. A recent challenge urged impressionable youth to destroy public bathrooms. Other challenges urge people to kick doors and set fires.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord also notified personnel of the threat on Thursday.
“Schools will operate as normal; however, JBLM Provost Marshal will have an increased military police presence around the on-base schools as added precaution,” the military post said on Facebook.
The Peninsula School District said it does not believe the threat to be credible but are “closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously.”
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