School districts respond to TikTok post that encourages violence

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FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 filer, a logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A TikTok trend that encourages bringing weapons to schools on Friday, December 17, is raising concern across the country.

West Genesee Central School District Superintendent David Bills, Fayetteville-Manlius School District Superintendent Craig Tice, North Syracuse Central School District Superintendent Daniel Bowles, and East Syracuse Minoa Deputy Superintendent Thomas Neveldine all issued messages to families acknowledging this trend. These messages can be found below.

Letter from Superintendent David Bills, West Genesee Schools

Dear West Genesee parents, staff, and students,

Earlier this afternoon, the District became aware of a national wide-spread and generalized social media-based threat related to school violence on the platform TikTok. These posts are associated with Friday, December 17. This generalized threat is not specific to West Genesee or any district, local or otherwise. While at this time it does not appear credible, we are taking it seriously.

The District has been in communication with the Camillus Police Department. They are aware of the TikTok situation and agree that the current situation does not indicate a credible threat.  That said, our School Resource Officers will continue as a visible presence in our schools and there will be additional patrols in our community.

The safety and security of our students and staff will remain our top priority. If at any time we receive further information that changes the current assessment of the situation we will act promptly and communicate appropriately.

As with CMS Principal Przybylski’s separate message this morning, it is important that we monitor students’ social media accounts closely at school and home. We continue to urge students to say something if they see something.  As we know, the immediate nature of communication through social media can be inappropriate, misleading, and potentially dangerous.

Thank you for your continued partnership.

Letter from Superintendent Craig Tice, Fayetteville-Manlius Schools

Dear F-M Families,

We are aware that there is a TikTok social media post circulating that warns about school shootings nationwide on Dec. 17, 2021. Law enforcement across the state have been reviewing the posts. While there is no direct or specific threat to F-M schools, we are working with local law enforcement to ensure the safety of our school community here remains our top priority. Our School Resource Officers and Special Patrol Officers are aware of the citation and will be vigilant tomorrow, as always.

You may consider taking the opportunity to talk to your children about the importance of sharing information they might have about potential threats to our students, staff or schools; any troubling behaviors being displayed by their friends and schoolmates; or any observations that they make of things that “just aren’t right” about what they see in their school. Working together is the best way to keep our community safe.

If you receive any information about this that you think requires immediate action, please call 911 to report it. If you have information that you believe the district should be aware of, please contact your child’s building principal or me as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will continue to keep you updated with any information that we receive.

Craig J. Tice, Ph.D.
Superintendent of School

Letter from Superintendent Daniel Bowles, North Syracuse Central Schools

NSCSD Parents, Guardians and Staff, 

Once again threats of violence toward schools are making their way through social media. While the North Syracuse Central School District has not received any direct threats, we are asking for your help. We take all threats of violence seriously and need your help monitoring social media.

Communication and information sharing within our buildings, with law enforcement and the community is critical to our collective safety. We are working tirelessly to make sure that channels of communication are open so that distressed students can be identified and supported. We encourage you to share any information with the District that will allow us to take a proactive approach to any situation or specific threat.

All our secondary buildings employ School Resource Officers (SROs), who are Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputies. If you have any concerns at all, please let your child’s principal and SRO know right away or if you see or hear something that requires law enforcement intervention, dial 911 immediately.

In the past several weeks, the District has also seen an increase in the number of fake social media accounts negatively targeting students and school personnel. These accounts are being reported and taken down but we want to remind our families that such activity on social media is considered bullying and harassment and is a violation of the District’s Code of Conduct. The behaviors will not be tolerated. Our goal is always to provide a safe, respectful learning environment for all students and we ask for your continued partnership in that effort.

Daniel D. Bowles, Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Deputy Superintendent Thomas Neveldine, East Syracuse Minoa Schools

ESM Parents/Guardians:  

Recently, there have been posts on the social media site, TikTok, stating that on Friday, Dec. 17, there is a challenge to call in bomb threats, school shooting threats, etc. at schools in the United States. We were made aware of these posts today.

Many of these posts indicate that these threats would take place during testing. As December 17th is not an increased test day at ESM or in New York State, it would appear that these posts may be originating from another state. The posts are generalized posts, without a specific threat or location.

ESM’s School Resource Officers and the Town of Manlius Police Department are aware and extra patrols will be around the schools today and tomorrow.

At this time, we are asking parents and caregivers to please closely monitor your child’s social media usage and discuss the seriousness of making any threat, which could result in not only school-related disciplinary action but criminal charges. Please reinforce with them the message we share at school, which is if they see something concerning, they should tell someone. 

We again want to say thank you to the students, parents, caregivers, and community members who made us aware of the social media posts. We all have a role in keeping our students and community safe.

Thank you for your continued support.
Dr. Thomas B. Neveldine
Deputy Superintendent

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