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Local school districts are on high alert after reported social media threats

Parents are concerned with the frequency of these threats
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Posted at 10:38 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-18 21:46:12-05

CINCINNATI — Local educators were on high alert after a reported social media challenge that encouraged students to threaten to shoot and bomb their schools on Friday. In response, districts across the Tri-State increased security efforts. Investigators said a post urging students to skip school morphed into something that encouraged students to threaten violence.

The Department of Homeland Security said it's monitoring the "TikTok Challenge," but wasn't aware of any credible threats to schools.

"This is the most extreme challenge I've ever heard of," said Lt. Ron Murphy with the Norwood Police department. Murphy said law enforcement has to take these threats seriously, but they can deplete resources and cost departments a lot of money in overtime payments.

All local districts ended Friday without any incidents of gun violence, but the psychological impact of these types of threats is something that teachers, students and their parents will have to deal with.

“I don't think for the kids it was too overwhelming, but I do know that my son was worried about going to school today," said Norwood Middle School parent Michael Kirkland. “It’s sad. Unfortunately, the sad world we live in. With technology comes, obviously, a lot of bad sides with the good.”

WCPO had not been able to independently confirm the challenge, and TikTok announced on Thursday it had not found evidence of threats originating on the app.

Related: Schools adding police presence ahead of TikTok challenge calling on students to make threats Friday
Related: Department of Homeland Security on TikTok Challenge: 'Remain alert'