SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Threats of school shootings posted to the social media platform TikTok prompted school districts around the country to respond.
School districts throughout the Bay Area sent notices warning of a growing social media trend encouraging acts of violence on Friday.
San Francisco’s schools superintendent notified parents saying the district is not aware of “actual threats” against any school in the city.
Districts across the Bay Area and country are on high alert because of vague, threatening, anonymous posts circulating online.
“It was a popular thing on TikTok. There were a bunch of threats all over the place,” said one student in San Francisco.
“They’re not usually serious but some videos are about people making jokes about people getting threats casually,” another student said.
Casual threat or not, Gilroy High School announced it will close Friday out of an abundance of caution after local police investigated a threat directed at “GHS.” It was later determined the post referred to a school in Los Angeles.
TikTok released this statement via Twitter saying “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.”
Mount Diablo Unified sent a letter warning of a viral TikTok that reads, “Many schools will be getting many school $shoOt!ng$ and bOmb threats on December 17 Friday.”
Some police departments across the country are increasing their presence on campuses and SFPD is in close contact with school officials.
Law enforcement agencies are taking to social media.
“Fake threat, real consequences. If you think you’re going to post a threat fake or real I promise you’re not only going to get out of school because you will but you’re going to jail,” said sheriff Carmine Marceno of Lee County, Florida.
School districts are urging parents to help children use social media responsibly. School officials are encouraging parents to talk to children about keeping themselves and others safe and how to report any suspicious activities they may witness on campus.