White House steps up vigilance as school threats spread on social media
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The White House Friday said it was “closely monitoring” threats of violence in schools, which were going viral on social media, despite a lack of evidence that there is anything substantive behind them.
The threats, which were circulating on TikTok, are being widely dismissed by law enforcement as unfounded but were spreading fear in school districts around the nation.
The Department of Homeland Security wrote on Twitter early Monday that it had no evidence of a “specific, credible threat” but recommended local communities remain alert.
Early Friday afternoon, press secretary Jen Psaki retweeted the DHS tweet and said the White House was also on the lookout for any problems.
“The @WhiteHouse and federal law enforcement are closely monitoring threats of violence in schools circulating on social media,” she wrote. “We know a number of schools across the country are closing today, and some parents are keeping their children home.”
TikTok posts warned that schools would receive shooting and bomb threats. School districts around the country were on heightened alert, and some were closing up just in case.
One of the posts “refers to a threat to school safety ‘for every school in the USA, even elementary,’ on Friday, December 17, 2021,” according to a message sent out by the Surry County School District in North Carolina. But the district said that “while we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation.”
POLAND – 2021/09/23: In this photo illustration a TikTok logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Public schools in Rapid City, South Dakota called off classes, according to the Associated Press
In Wisconsin, the Waukesha School District sent a letter to parents “asking you to discuss this with your children,” while the nearby Hamilton School District canceled classes, according to Fox6 Milwaukee.
Psaki also tweeted out a message asserting that the administration had made “historic progress on executive actions to reduce gun violence.”
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this story.
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