TikTok challenge to threaten violence in schools puts police on alert


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A national TikTok challenge to threaten violence in schools across the country on Friday caused a stir among educators and parents alike, although law enforcement was not aware of any credible threats stemming from the challenge.

Sgt. Andy Williams, spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department, told The Arizona Republic on Thursday that the department is aware of the social media challenge and has prepared accordingly.

“Our various investigative units are in contact with school officials across the city and will investigate any threat of violence should it arise,” he said. “At this time, we are not aware of any credible threat of violence in a school.”

Williams said the department takes the threats seriously and will monitor the situation.

“We encourage everyone in our community to contact the police if they see or hear anything suspicious. We also urge parents to take the time to talk to their children about the seriousness and consequences of a threat, as well as the proper use of social media. . “

The Scottsdale Unified School District sent a letter to parents on Thursday alerting them to the TikTok Challenge.

“We are in constant contact with our local law enforcement partners, who inform us that these are NOT credible threats; however, you may notice an increased police presence on and around our campuses. today and tomorrow, ”the letter reads.

Arizona schools responded to several threats last week that resulted in the arrest of two teenagers, while another teenager was arrested after allegedly shooting a boy who sold him a “phantom gun” in Cesar Chavez high school on November 29.

Five high schools in Maricopa County were closed in September after threats of shooting circulated on social media and calls about suspicious packages and people on the school grounds were made.

Other recent incidents involved another TikTok trend where students were encouraged to steal or vandalize school property, which sometimes involved destroying soap dispensers and stealing classroom projectors.

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Contact reporter Perry Vandell at 602-444-2474 or perry.vandell@gannett.com. Follow him on twitter @PerryVandell.

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