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TikTok posts mentioning violence spark anxiety at schools

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Posts that went viral online said schools would face shooting and bomb threats on Friday. In a tweet, the US Department of Homeland Security said it did not “have any information indicating any specific, credible threat to schools but advised communities to be alert.” sense.”

Some school districts have chosen to cancel classes for the day or limit where students can enter school buildings. Many others have increased security staff. More than half a dozen school districts in the Houston area, officials said, have asked middle and high school students to leave their backpacks at home in response to TikTok posts, although there is no school district. who receive credible threats.

Company spokeswoman Hilary McQuaide said TikTok has removed posts that spread “misinformation that often causes alarming warnings”.

“We’re removing the alarms,” ​​she said. “It’s misinformation.”

McQuaide said the company began hearing the rumors late Wednesday and has been working with law enforcement to try to get to the bottom of them.

Justin Patchin, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and co-director of Cyberbullying said: The post most widely linked to Friday’s fear was “not really a threat” , just saying they’re hearing this happening” Research Center.

How to deal with that poses a dilemma for both TikTok and educators, especially since many of those are previously bewildered about the challenges TikTok has proven to be. are not real and acknowledging them can make them more influential.

“It definitely puts schools in a difficult position,” said Patchin, whose center has worked with TikTok and other social media companies in the past to research online bullying. “There are these potential threats that they just can’t ignore but also can’t shut down schools every time someone posts a generic threat on social media.”

Educators have stepped in at various places since the deadly Michigan shootings as threats of imitation have led to isolated cases of shifting to distance learning in the past few weeks.

In Newtown, Connecticut, all schools were open Friday, with an increasing police presence. Schools in the district switched to distance learning on Tuesday, the ninth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, due in part to threats that schools elsewhere received in the wake of the discharge. guns in Michigan.

In Michigan, schools in West Bloomfield were absent for an entire week after a social media threat shut down Monday’s course. Julia Anderson Pulver’s 14-year-old daughter texted her saying it’s probably nothing but “still has a little voice in my head saying you’re going to die.”

“I’m glad they want to ensure the mental health of our students, teachers and staff because they don’t want us to go back and then go through a similar lockdown because of a threat. just came in and kept injuring people,” Pulver said.

As her 15-year-old son studied for his big algebra test, a vague threat of school violence on TikTok prompted Kelley Swiney to ask the freshman about other calculations: You’re out of class. What is that fastest? Where will you run? Do you feel safe going to school on Friday?

Swiney, a mother of three school-age boys in Upper Arlington, Ohio, said she had a similar conversation with him and her middle son, a sixth grader, after the discharge. recent gun in Michigan. She asked them to spend a few seconds in each class they entered to think about where they might be hiding and how they might get out.

She told her son that if he really felt unsafe? don’t just try to skip the test or the last day before the holiday â?? he can stay home on Friday, even if it means a slip point.

Swiney said: “I think it’s really sad that we live in a world where I have to talk to my kids.

On Friday morning, he felt comfortable enough to go to school for his exams, and by midday he was safely home.

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O’Brien reports from Providence, Rhode Island. Writer Anna Liz Nichols of the Associated Press in Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this report.

https://www.kob.com/news/tiktok-posts-referencing-violence-raise-anxiety-at-schools/6335827/?cat=500 TikTok posts mentioning violence spark anxiety at schools

Yasmin Harisha

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