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Local law enforcement increase presence at schools after alleged nationwide TikTok threat

Schools across the United States are on alert after an alleged social media trend threatened...
Schools across the United States are on alert after an alleged social media trend threatened violence on Friday, December 17th.(WCTV)
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 6:28 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Schools across the United States are on alert after an alleged social media trend threatened violence on Friday, December 17.

The rumors were circulating on TikTok, but did not specify a location.

Law enforcement in four districts emphasized to WCTV that their areas were not under a direct threat, but most said they increased their presence because of the importance of school safety.

“You never know,” Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Jeffrey Yarbrough said. “It poses a unique challenge because information can travel so fast. It’s a ramped up game of telephone.”

The Margery Stoneman Douglas Act requires at least one “Safe School Officer” on campus.

Wakulla County Schools say they go above and beyond that requirement, especially on Friday.

“We made sure we had multiple units on every school campus,” Yarbrough said.

Some parents commented on WCSO’s Facebook post, saying they planned to keep their children home. Others thanked law enforcement for their work.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office also posted on Facebook, saying it would be increasing its presence on school campuses, and Lowndes County Schools posted that local law enforcement would have more officers on their campuses as well.

Leon County Schools tweeted that they were aware of the rumors, and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office added to its patrols around schools.

Threats of violence in Florida, whether written or online, are a second degree felony.

“It’s important to understand that even if it’s done in jest and on social media, in the state of Florida it’s actually a second degree felony to make any sort of terrorist threats or any threats of mass violence or a school shooting,” Yarbrough said. “Students need to understand that there’s no allowance for them in the law. They’re treated as every other citizen in the country.”

TikTok posted on Twitter that it was investigating the issue Thursday night; Friday morning, the social media app announced it had not found any videos threatening violence.

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