HOUSTON — A threat that reportedly started on TikTok is being spread around the country warning that Friday, Dec. 17, is "American School Shooting Day."
The vague, anonymous threats warn of shootings or bombs at schools nationwide. They've spread to other social media sites, including Instagram and Facebook, and some parents are keeping their kids home just in case.
Several Houston-area school districts are taking action as a precaution.
Fort Bend ISD is asking middle and high school students to leave the backpacks at home Friday "out of an abundance of caution."
"We are taking this action in the wake of several social media sites challenging students nationwide to threaten their schools. This issue is far beyond just Fort Bend ISD," the district said in a statement. "We want you to know that over the past several days our Fort Bend ISD police officers have investigated social media allegations and rumors that individuals would cause harm on our campuses. Our investigators have been very successful locating individuals responsible for the posts. Please know that consequences will be significant and will include any and all applicable criminal charges."
Katy ISD, Alief ISD, Lamar CISD, La Porte ISD, Waller ISD and Channelview ISD are also asking students to leave backpacks home Friday.
Houston ISD said individual campuses are making backpack recommendations. Parents received an email from HISD Police Chief Pedro Lopez advising them of situation and ways they can address social media threats with their children.
"The Houston Independent School District has become aware of a troubling post that has been shared widely this week on the social media platform TikTok. The post refers to a threat to school safety tomorrow, Friday, December 17.
"The post appears to be part of a national TikTok trend and did not originate in our school district. We have heard reports from other districts that the same post is circulating in their schools. The HISD Police Department is aware of the post. While we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously."
Klein ISD also sent a letter home to parents that said police have found no evidence of a threat locally.
"The Klein ISD Police Department continues to investigate whether there are any local connections to these social media posts," the statement said. "At this time, Klein ISD Police have not acquired any evidence that would deem these threats as credible in our district."
"Serious legal repercussions exist for making threats, even if they are posted as a prank or joke. Klein ISD takes these hoaxes very seriously and will work to prosecute perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law."
In a statement on Twitter, TikTok said it was working with law enforcement to investigate.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness,” the statement said, “which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok.”
How districts are handling the alert:
No backpacks Friday, 12/17, for middle and high school students/6th-12th grade in the following districts
- Alief ISD
- Channelview ISD
- Fort Bend ISD
- Katy ISD
- Lamar Consolidated ISD
- La Porte ISD
- Spring ISD
- Waller ISD
School-by-school decision on backpacks
- Houston ISD says individual campuses will decide if backpacks will be allowed
- Cy-Fair ISD - clear backpacks allowed
- Klein ISD