TCU takes precautions over disturbing TikTok ‘challenge’

By: 
Wade Young

A number of school districts around the country, including Tri-City United, are responding to an anonymous threat on TikTok that seemingly warns against students attending class on Friday.

The threat, or "challenge,"reportedly calls on students to commit acts of violence on Dec. 17. It does not name a specific school or district.

According to TCU Superintendent Lonnie Seifert, there have been no threats that the district is aware of that specifically identify TCU schools as a site for violence.

The warnings reference the threat has been enough to elicit a response from school districts and law enforcement agencies for students on Friday. As a precaution, Seifert said the district’s administration met with staff at the end of the day on Thursday to make them aware of the social media challenge and provide direction, expectations and guidance for the day.

“As a district, we had local law enforcement in each of our three school communities be more visible outside of our buildings when students were arriving,” he said. “Le Sueur County also provided more of a presence around the school buildings in all of the communities of the county that have schools.”

Seifert added that all state law enforcement agencies are aware of this social media challenge and have been working with school districts throughout the state. However, he added the “challenge” caused some families to keep kids at home.

“Some of our families have chosen to keep their children at home, which is their choice,” Seifert said. “We are continuing to provide visible supervision and are monitoring traffic both coming in and out of the buildings, but also within the buildings.”

In a statement published on Twitter, TikTok said it has not found evidence of the threat despite the alarming posts that have since gone viral and said they are working with law enforcement the company tweeted at 2:0 p.m. on Thursday.

At 10:30 Friday morning, TikTok tweeted an update. “we've exhaustively searched for content that promotes violence at schools today, but have still found nothing. What we find are videos discussing this rumor and warning others to stay safe. Local authorities, the FBI, and DHS have confirmed there's no credible threat, so we're working to remove alarmist warnings that violate our misinformation policy. If we did find promotion of violence on our platform, we'd remove and report it to law enforcement.”

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